My dad told me people at his work listen up when he says that. Sucks for them if he was yelling at them. Those are not the type of moments you want to repeat! I’m beating my head against a wall on how to get more traffic. After nearly 10 years, my podcast ranks very low in listens and visits. Should I give up?

Blog Podcast Film Reviews

Transference (2020)

I know many of you horror fans out there like superhero films. Maybe this film was aimed at you because I don’t particularly like them and this was all but a lost mess on me. Listen to this episode in your podcast player of choice. The written version appeared first at

Tropes of superhero films appear a safe bet in this movie market. “Xmen” franchises always make hundreds of millions of dollars but films like it are beset with production costs that literally no one ever imagine. In that way, “Transference” is a bit refreshing in that it is a low budget film trying to achieve in the ranks of Amazon’s “The Boys.” Are you being assaulted hourly with ads like I am when I tune to Amazon Prime? But “Transference” is currently streaming on tubi not Amazon and the comparison of networks is a metaphor if not almost an allegory.Joshua (Jeremy Ninaber) is the tacit caretaker for his sister Emma (Melissa Joy Boerger) since their father died in a car accident. She has enormous metal psychic powers. At one point, her mind shows itself powerful enough to cause a horde of people to slit their wrists all at the same time. This sounds amazing I know but the way the parts like this are connected and misapplied, the film ends up being all over the place and extremely hard to follow. A friend of mine told me it was like doing brain surgery trying to understand the plot. Another said it had no plot. It does feel like 3-4 scripts were joined together hodgepodge. For that reason, I was turned off by this film.

You might compare Joshua to Wolverine in that he’s highly violent and powerful. What’s more, the knuckle fights don’t affect him physically at all. Picture Captain America in his street clothes attempting to take no prisoners in a street fight. Now imagine no humor to go along with that. Since I’m not much into street fighting either, it came up fairly empty for me. This film would have been better served by being a spoof. That wouldn’t require much of the cgi in superhero movies either.

The knuckle fights at night, while highly improbable and hard to accept as real, keep his sister in the hospital. By that I mean, brother earns the hospital fees through street fighting. You can see elements like this making a superhero film a bit hard to access. This isn’t horror. If the continual barrage of images and plot line made me uncomfortable, I would praise it as horror. Unfortunately, it makes the error of traveling down the road of superhero movies. It could have chosen to be a spoof, which would be better. I should also mention that the street fights are very poorly choreographed which can’t usually be blamed on a 200,000 dollar budget.

Can we look at one feature of this film I did/do like and am happy to share? As is conventional for my reviews, I have to give props to the multi-tasking director/writer/actor of this film: Matthew Ninaber. This was an ambitious task and I always want to recognize the directors who “do it all” to achieve their vision. The budget and plot issues aside, I can see how fans of the sub-genre will enjoy this film. If you agree or disagree with me about aspects of the film, I invite you to kindly start a discussion with me and others in the comments. I welcome all points of view and sometimes comments make me a better reviewer/podcaster.

A comic book masquerading in genre to be a horror is hard enough to pull off in the marketing. Even the film itself lacks the stuff of greatness. I will obviously reserve judgement for you comic book peripheral horror fans but as a straight up horror, you could miss this one.

As a parting thought, let me give you some recommendations of films that “get it right” in the “low budget superhero” subgenre:

Wonder Boy, The Transfiguration, Kick Ass, Super. 

Do you know of another low budget superhero film? Include it in a comment: Let’s get a discussion going!


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Podcast Film Reviews


Sputnik – A Podcast Film Review by Damien Riley – These are excepts from my longer review at Horror Movie News dot Net

Synopsis: The lone survivor of an enigmatic Russian spaceship incident hasn’t returned back home alone-hiding inside his body is a dangerous creature.

Review: Most horror fans will agree, I can say based on my travels, that space and aliens are excellent themes for horror movies. Of course, Ridley Scott’s original “Alien” made the hair stand up on the back of the neck of a generation. I am proud to be included in that. Some more recent incarnations have failed in my view to do that but I pay props to that film, it set a gold standard for horror and gore in a mainstream sci fi film. “Sputnik” is an example of a film that comes close to that magic and mystique but in my opinion will not be adopted as such by the horror community because of the subtitles. 

In conclusion, I have avoided spoilers mostly for this one because I really want you to see it. Let me put it this way, I had 3 screeners across my desk this week and this was the best (2020) film of the three by a country mile, or a light year? If you can trust me to not dread the subtitles, I think you’ll have a great time with this film. In my house the conversation went like this (so I get it) “Honey watch this it has subtitles though!” then my wife replies “Fuck that no way, I have to multi-task.” So there you go. MY favorite person dislikes subs. I hope you are more opening minded because this “Alien-like” sci fi foreign film is worth its weight in horror. While not perfect, I will grade it accordingly with a very high, as compared to mine lately, score from me: 8/10. This was a refreshing surprise at the beginning of Fall!