Explicit content and language! Synopsis: Sensing evil, a haunted house tour guide seeks a medium’s help only to be warned that she is facing a vengeful power beyond her control.
Review: In the places it succeeds as a horror film, “Sisters of the Plague” effectively uses creepy music, cinematography, and forest settings to create a sense of foreboding. I’ve related to you many times before that it’s this sort of thing that I prefer to the so-called “Grief Horrors” coming out with such frequency. This film uses its sense of creepy cinematography to ratchet up the tension and fear. Furthermore, the setting in an outskirts town makes for a damn creepy experience. Unfortunately the experience falls flat when too much attention is given to the girl’s sick, desperately-coughing father. Her lesbian roommate wants to be rid of him once and for all. It reminded me of Poe’s “Tell Tale Heart” the way they discuss the annoyance of the old man here.
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Please make a mental note in your memory that , despite my low rating of this film, I love and respect independent filmmaking. They can be amazing. One example is “The Alchemist Cookbook.” In that film a guy tries to summon supernatural assistance and it messes him up big time. But there are no spooky connotations to the souls of duped cult members coming from the grave. I hope the next film I watch and review will be much better than this one. Why is this called horror? Read my full written review at Horror News dot Net where I am a long term writing contributor on horror films.
“American Fright Fest” never gives up on itself. We have the director to thank for this I suppose. Whether it should have given up on the cutting room floor is an individual choice each horror fan has to make. It is indeed scary at times, which is surprising for its PG rating. Dylan Walsh of “Nip and Tuck” Fame is looking slightly old and certainly less adept with his lines. He’s Spencer Crowe, a fallen from grace horror director who is trying to make a comeback. To color it up a bit, he rents out an old insane asylum and laces cameras in various locations. (Read my full written review of this and and all my horror movie reviews at: Horror News dot Net )
“The Dawn” (2020) is a drama, horror, thriller film now available to watch on Prime Video. It stars Devanny Pinn in the lead role, known for Crossbreed (2019) and Casey Anthony: An American Murder Mystery (2017). She has no nude scenes that I know of, please inform me is you know any (asking for a friend). Stacy Dash also plays a small role (Clueless). It was directed by a man named Brandon Slagle who is just starting out in his career but has apparently received “record rentals” (a few social media posts I read) as an indy director on Red Box. I am sad to say, this will not be breaking any rental awards anywhere. I don’t think even Stacy Dash’s fame could help this plot and production.
While the creepy moments (or attempts) are present, this film doesn’t present its intent until the last 4 minutes. At that point, it disjointedly claims to be a prequel to the “Amytiville Horror.” Every Horror fan knows the bar is high if it were to be that prequel. Perhaps that’s why the director didn’t reveal it was meant to be that until the end. The production and plot sink it. An example of things going right is “Exorcist.” We know why and how the young girl gets possessed and it gives us permission to be scared, repulsed, disgusted, etc. Remember that lovely pea soup sputtering out? “The Dawn” doesn’t even try to work the possession in. There is a brief encounter with her great grandfather who is Native American but even that scene gives us little to go on as this mystery of possession ensues.
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A posse of sorts sets out in this film to find the missing young girl. On their trek, we see light tricks and themes akin to those seen in previous alien abduction films. But this story has an angle we haven’t seen before and that makes it an above average film in my view. Among a cast of mostly no namers, we are treated to the lovely and talented Laura Fraser who plays the mother character “Olivia” quite well. She takes you in as you watch and keeps the film grounded from a grieving mother’s perspective. Whereas most films recycle the themes or alien abduction, this one leads the viewer on through a mystery that shows something never been attempted: the idea of innocent and benevolent aliens.
When the Sheriff hugs the father to console him after his daughter disappears, the hug seemed awkward and poorly acted. Little did I know that was a hidden clue that would later tie in the aliens and everything else that’s part of the film’s conflict. There’s no way to know that until you’ve seen the movie though and that doesn’t qualify as a clue in my view.
You won’t find gore or amazing alien latex costumery. You will find lights in the sky akin to “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” There is also a powerful musical score. Unfortunately though, the lack of horror visuals and concepts makes this much more of a sci fi. I am not sure I would recommend it to a die hard horror fan. I do watch a lot of independent films and this one is certainly well made with the foxy lead and the music. It is a film rooted in grief so it makes it hard to enjoy Ms. Laura but she’s a reassuring force throughout nonetheless. (Aye that little pink bow in the picture. If that lady needs a slightly older man to show her some pleasure, I’ll have to get divorced first but send her my way). Let me reiterate though, this is a slow burn and not really a horror. As a sci fi, I give it 8/10 and as a horror I have to give it a 6/10. There are, after all, a few scary parts. Also, the concept of the daughter’s fate is indeed a horrifying thought. This film is on Amazon Prime at time of review.