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[Film Festival] Reviews of Boar, Ruin Me, and Summer of 84 (BIFAN, 2018)

South Korea’s Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (BIFAN), Asia’s largest genre film fest, once again served up more than 200 films from around the globe this summer. Between July 12 and 22, the fest offered horror, science fiction, dark comedy, fantasy, thriller, and other movies. This article looks at three of the offerings, along with […]

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The 21st Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival: Top 10 Most Anticipated Films

My favorite film festival here in South Korea, the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (BiFan), kicks off its 21st edition this week on Thursday, July 13. The fest runs through July 23 with a slate of more than 200 feature-length and short films from around the world, focusing on horror, science fiction, fantasy, dark comedy, […]

Gruesome Reviews Super Scary Shorts Saturday

“20 Matches” (BIFAN 2016): Mesmerizing Serial Killer Tale Told with Impactful Spareness

Writer/director/producer Mark Tapio Kines’ short film 20 Matches (United States, 2016) is simplicity at its most effective. Using only one actress and the titular matchsticks, the short delivers a terrifying and disturbing piece of cinema. Without any action, backdrop, or special effects, actress Nina Rausch looks directly at viewers as she relates the tale of […]

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“Creepy” (BIFAN 2016):  Japanese Thriller Lives Up to Its Title Thanks to a Disturbing Villain

Teruyuki Kagawa gives a masterful, absolutely chilling performance as an unnerving yet hypnotic villain in director Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s remarkable psychological thriller Creepy (Japan, 2015). The famed director of Japanese  horror classics Cure (1997) and Pulse (2001) delivers one of the most well-crafted and unnerving cinematic experiences of the year in his latest outing. Koichi Takakura […]

Gruesome Reviews Super Scary Shorts Saturday

“They Will All Die in Space” (BIFAN 2016):  Drifting  Spaceship Crew Turns to Desperate Measures in Science Fiction Short

 Writer/director/producer Javier Chillon offers up helpings of both tension and dread in his science fiction/horror short film They Will All Die in Space (Spain, 2015). Although the short’s title gives viewers a pretty good idea about what is in store for the crew of the ill-fated Starship Tantalus, the reward of the film is finding […]

Gruesome Reviews Super Scary Shorts Saturday

“Thorn” (BIFAN 2016): Unnerving Practical Effects and First-Rate Acting Highlight Psychic-Horror Short

Body and psychic horror abound in the Japanese horror short Thorn (2015) as a cactus with supernatural powers brings tragedy to a family. Writer/director/editor/special makeup effects artist Soichi Umezawa has crafted a film that shocks and touches, while also serving as a showcase for his amazing practical effects work. Asuka Kurosawa stars as Keiko Takizawa, […]

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“The Master Cleanse” (BIFAN 2016): Retreat Goers Let Out the Monsters Inside Them

Often the things that frighten us most are creations of our own making, yet when given the opportunity to rid ourselves of these fears and frustrations, many of us are reluctant to eliminate the negativity, as evidenced in writer/director Bobby Miller’s The Master Cleanse (Canada/USA, 2016). Combining elements of body horror, new-age-philosophy satire, and wry […]

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“Don’t Breathe” (BIFAN 2016): Home Robbery Goes Haywire in Pulse-Pounding Thriller

American horror thriller Don’t Breathe is a fast-paced, nerve-wracking ride filled with suspense. I hadn’t felt as tense watching a film on the big screen in too long a time as I did seeing this one. The basic plot from director/cowriter Fede Alvarez and cowriter Rodo Sayagues (both of whom performed the same duties on […]

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“The Similars” (BIFAN 2016): Love Letter to Classic Science Fiction Boasts Plenty of Suspense and Absurdist Humor

Writer/director Isaac Ezban’s The Similars (AKA Los Parecidos; Mexico, 2015) is a valentine to science fiction television and cinema of the 1950s and 1960s, with special emphasis on The Twilight Zone, and it pressed all of the right buttons for me when I saw it at the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (BIFAN) in July. […]

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“The Phoenix Incident” (BIFAN 2016): By-the-Numbers Story and One-Dimensional Characters Hamper Found-Footage Science Fiction Effort

Video game  director Keith Arem makes his feature film writing and directing debut with the faux documentary/found footage science fiction film The Phoenix Incident; unfortunately, the film doesn’t offer much more than playing a video game for the same amount of time. Though the final act boasts lots of chase scenes and action, the characters […]

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“I Survived a Zombie Holocaust” (2015): Cheekiness and Charm Abound in New Zealand Horror Comedy

Since Peter Jackson’s early films, along with  efforts from other filmmakers such as those behind  Black Sheep (2006), New Zealand has had a solid track record with producing horror comedies that worked in both aspects of this subgenre, which is not an easy feat. The past year or so has seen releases that pleased both […]

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[Film Review] “The Stranger” (2014): Undying Nihilism Sinks Chilean Horror Film

Not to be confused with the Albert Camus novel of the same name — although it could be argued that there is a peppering of existentialism on display at times here amongst the nihilism — debuting director Guillermo Amodoe’s Chilean effort The Stranger offers up a fair share of moody brooding. The titular character, also […]