Misogynist (2013) Review

misog1Misogynist (2013)

Director: Michael Matteo Rossi

Starring: Jonathon Bennett, Jon Briddell, Danielle Lozeau, Tracey E. Bregman, Alia Raelynn, Eve Mauro

Out Now on VOD

“You better keep your voice close to your vest…”

Trevor (Biddell), male chauvinist and the films titular misogynist, finds stray puppy Harrison (Bennett) on the sidewalk one day. Trevor promises that if Harrison follows him home he will teach Harrison how to never get taken advantage of by women again. Three years later Harrison is Trevor’s golden boy, helping conduct Trevor’s dubious “seminars”, which involve a lot of unwarranted fisticuffs for no discernible reason (the script needed tension?). Harrison, on the verge of his greatest conquest, marrying the virginal April (Lozeau), is beginning to wonder what sort of man he really wants to be.

The movie doesn’t really live up to the film poster. The bar set by the synopsis and even the tagline are pretty high. It looks like an early 90’s sexual thriller in the vein of Basic Instinct. Instead it’s a low budget thriller without the thrills. Or boobs. Judging by the film poster I was fully expecting nudity. And BDSM. None of which were present. There are a couple of sex scenes sans nudity, one of which is kind of rapey, and some dirty talk. But that’s all.

misog2But that doesn’t mean the film is terrible. What it accomplishes is a small scale fairly decent character study of Trevor and Harrison. Trevor is unrepentant and repellant. Biddell oozes gross charm and gleeful hate. In fact all the actors in Misogynist are giving 110%. A few scenes cross the border into melodrama, but with a better script those scenes would have worked. April has one of the most dramatic scenes in the movie and Lozeau handles it with skill and vulnerability.

The main problem is one of pacing. A long, long, long time is spent in one of Trevor’s “seminars”- is it really a seminar with only three people? We get it, Trevor is an asshole. Trevor hates women. Give Trevor thirty days and you too can learn to use and abuse women. The entire seminar complete with multiple punches takes an eternity. An eternity that could have been better used developing Harrison, his fiancé April, and April’s mother. The pacing together with a weak script the movie feels smaller than it could have.

There are long conversations which obviously serve only to set up the climax. The end comes suddenly and the twist has already been telegraphed. Then there’s a text wrap-up and brief call back to the seminar that occupies almost the first third of the film. And the final shocker at the end could have, and should have been a real shocker but the movie ends with no warning and no time for the characters to absorb the impact of what just happened.

misog3Misogynist’s budget, or lack thereof, shows again and again like an unzipped fly. From having to film only inside people’s apartments and houses because someone couldn’t afford the permits to film on the streets of LA(I’m guessing). Though I will say they accomplished a very nice wedding without actually showing it, so props. A few obvious money saving shots and awkward transitions bring down the overall production value and feels plain cheap.

Kudos for: Fuck yeah April!

Final lesson: Fuck yeah April!

5/10

For more information and to watch Misogynist then please visit – http://midnightreleasing.com/misogynist

An Interview with Danielle Lozeau by Dean Sills

dl4An Interview with Danielle Lozeau by Dean Sills

UKHS – Hello Danielle, thank you for your time and welcome to UKHS. How did you get into acting and what is it about the horror genre that you enjoy so much?

DL – Thank you for having me! I started acting at 14, doing small indie films in New York, and started to branch out from there to other states. I danced for many of my earlier years, so transitioning from stage into film wasn’t too far off. What I enjoy about the horror genre is the ability to take an emotional and physical roller-coaster for the character. Horror tends to be on the heightened side of fear and emotions, which can be really fun for an actor to delve into.

UKHS – Congratulations on your 58 acting credits on IMDb this is amazing, well done! What’s been your favourite role so far and why?

DL – Aw Thanks! Its been a bumpy but love filled ride!! My favorite role to this day still has to be ‘Legion’
. It was just an amazing process, from the audition, to fittings, make-up testing, to filming. Just being able to work alongside Dennis Quaid and Paul Bettany was a life achievement for me. As an actor, being able to play something so far from yourself can be challenging, but so rewarding. I had no idea at the time I was capable of playing something so out of the ordinary, and being able to surprise myself like that has been a great experience.

dl3UKHS – You are working with the fantastic director Dean Whitney on his new short film, ‘Aberrant’. Can you please tell us how you got the role of Leslie and a little about your character and the story?

DL – Dean actually had me audition for one of his films late last year. Once I had seen that he was casting this, I wanted to send my interest in auditioning for ‘Aberrant’. I was really looking to work with Dean and Undaunted Films, and I am so glad this chance has arrived. The story is about a couple fighting for their life in a worldwide pandemic, where out of no where in a abandoned house they come across a renegade vampire. It has such a cool approach that hasn’t been done before, and Dean has some great visions for this film. I feel like it’s going to be a great collaboration for everyone involved.

UKHS – You worked on the TV Series,’Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles’ playing a Hero Student. Can you tell us a little about your experience working on the show and are you a fan of the ‘Terminator’ films?

DL – After getting the call for this project from my agent, I was so excited to work with David Nutter. I have seen the
Terminator films previously, but I had no idea as what to expect once I was on set. I had no clue there was going to be buses flipping over, glass shattering, and guns everywhere. I was so blown away. My desk in the show was meant to blow up, so they literally had it rigged. I was told by one of the stunt guys, how to fall out and how long I had to get out of my desk. I believe they had more sweat on their brow than I did. After the whole episode was shot, I kind of had one of those moments where I realized I could of had my face blown off. It was so worth it.

dl1UKHS – Congratulations on the DVD release of ‘Misogynist’ which I believe is out in the USA in March. The film as been described by its director as “the antidote to all the Fifty Shades of Grey-mania”. How true is this and what can fans expect from the film and your role as April?

DL – I have yet to see ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’, so I am going on what I have only read in articles. ‘Misogynist’ is all about getting respect from woman, so I can see that “Fifty Shades” reference. I do feel it’s pretty on point, although it’s a lot grittier in terms of what the characters are individually going through. ‘Misogynist’ is very controversial. The views relayed in this film are not going to agree with everyone, but I enjoyed that side of film. I always look for films that either cause controversy or compels you to feel for the characters. After reading the script for ‘Misogynist’ I knew this one was going to be different, and didn’t really know how people were going to react. As for my character she goes through hell, but she is a fighter, so don’t doubt her strength.

dl2UKHS – What other current projects are you working on that you can tell UKHS about and do you have any more films due for release on DVD?

DL – I do have some films working their way to being released! One of the films I did, that screened at Comikaze last year, was ‘The Murders of Brandywine Theatre’. It was produced by the Lord of the Rings executive Producers Mark Ordesky and Jane Fleming, so this project is a killer. We had such an amazing cast involved including Dian Bachar (BASEketball), Dallas Page, Martin Klebba and it was directed by Larry Longstreth. Set in America’s heartland a depressed ventriloquist Henry (Bachar), finally comes out of this shell when Moxxy (Les Claypool) begins speaking up for him. I loved making this film, and I am so excited to see it being released soon.

I just finished ‘The Rift’ in January, which was an awesome paranormal horror short film. I am a huge fan of the paranormal so this film for me was amazing to do. They are currently releasing a trailer soon for the film, and will be hitting film festivals.

I also have another film hitting the film festival market, ‘Broken Memories’ which I worked alongside Rance Howard (Nebraska) and Ivan Sergei (Twisted on ABC). It is just a heartfelt southern drama that I am very excited about. It deals with the effects of Alzheimer’s and how the family copes with this disease. This film really pulls at your heart strings in all the good ways.

dl6UKHS – If you were stranded on a desert island, which three items would you want to have with you?

DL – I would probably bring a pot, a knife, and a blanket. I could distil water, hunt for food, cook the food, and stay warm.

UKHS – What would you consider to be the three main ingredients that you need to make a classic horror film?

DL – A great script, a great director and some blood. I feel a good horror film can’t be made with out any of these to really make an impact in the horror genre.

UKHS – Finally, what are your greatest strengths as an actress and what would be your dream role?

DL – I believe my greatest strength as an actress is my drive. I have no clue who this came from, but I have a tremendous amount of self motivation and drive. It’s what pushed me this far. I did have my parents helping me get into New York, but I had to be the one to get the audition. I had to do the mailings, I had to do the emails. I wouldn’t be where I am today If I didn’t have the drive to be here. Acting was the only thing (and still is) I can see myself doing for the rest of my life. My dream role would be to play a real person, adapt to their mannerisms or their speech.

I would love to play someone like Judy Garland. I have also said before, I would love to do a Natural Disaster movie. I am obsessed with things like that and would love to play against something of that nature. Who knows? Twister 2? Just kidding…

UKHS – Thanks again for your time and keep up the great work!

www.daniellelozeau.net

www.imdb.me/daniellelozeau

The Indiegogo campaign for ‘Aberrant’ is running until 11th March with some great perks. Please check it out and help support Indie Horror: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/aberrant

The Other Side (2014) Review

otherside1The Other Side (2014)

Directed by: Raymond Mongelli III, Chris Niespodzianski

Written by: Chris Niespodzianski

Starring: Chad Conley, Danielle Lozeau, Christine Starkey, Chuck Hendershot, Robert Liscio

Running time: 103 minutes

You wake up in the middle of the woods, covered in blood, head ringing and the man with the world’s creepiest moustache is telling you to run. Is this a night out in Manchester? No, it’s the opening scene from Mongelli and Niespodzianski’s new film, ‘The Other Side’.

The film is a little bit different, consisting of three (arguably four) entwined plots, but the attention is focused very specifically on Chad Conley as Chris, a man who wakes up one morning to find his wife missing, his daughter gone and about thirty missed calls from a very irate sister-in-law. Although the daughter is quickly found courtesy of the local sheriff, the wife remains elusive. Eh, that’s okay, she’s done it before. She hasn’t taken her anti-psych meds? I’m sure it’ll be fine.

Then cut to Greg, the poacher-turned-gamekeeper parole officer who’s looking after a biker gang. Like every movie PO, Greg was a criminal until a personal tragedy made him turn his life around, and his parolees respect him for that. A little cliché perhaps, but okay. And the final plot is the local sheriff who, after realising that lots of people have gone missing overnight, meets to the mayor to plead for reinforcements. We learn two things from this one; the first is that the mayor is a grade-A douchnozzle, and the second is that he’s been encouraging the use of a non-government-approved fertilizer. Uh-oh.

These stories are all peppered with the characters from the opening as they try and escape the woods and the ‘things’ chasing them. But these scenes aren’t really that important. All they’re really doing is introducing the characters and setting the scene. For what, you ask? Zombie apocalypse!! 

At first, all the public know is that a lot of people have disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Greg and Chris (along with the annoying sister and daughter) team up to try and find Chris’s wife who, unbeknownst to them, is actually the lady in the woods with creepy ‘tache, trying to get away from something. Just like most zombie movies, the film then focuses on bringing as many characters together as possible (while still trying to maintain a realistic escaped-to-eaten ratio).

otherside2After the main characters are either together or dead, the movie falls into the three big pitfalls of its genre;

1: The Swarming Horde- We all know what this is. Day of the Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Night of the Living Dead, just about every zombie movie has that scene toward the end when everyone’s trapped in a building and the Zombies want in. Although ‘The Other Side’ wasn’t the worst effort in the world, it’s been done so many times that it’s hard to be original.

2: The Self-Sacrifice -When one character has been mortally wounded/infected/has nothing left to live for, it’s only considered polite for them to give themselves up to the horde (see above) to give everyone else the vague chance of getting away.

3: The Re-Animated Loved One – Let’s be honest, we all love having our heartstrings tugged a little, but there are only so many times that we can watch someone cry as they shoot their child, wife or mother in the face before we flip over to Jeremy Kyle.

Now, these sound like harsh criticisms but they really aren’t. The only reason they stick out so obviously is because the rest of the film is completely unlike any zombie movie I’ve seen before, relying almost exclusively on character development than blood and guts. All of these overdone zombie bits just seem out of place. In regard to the technical aspects of the film, you can tell that the production crew knew what they were doing when they put it together. The quality of the shots and the editing is far and away better than the standard set by modern indie horror films, with very little noticeable shaking on the steadycams and overall strong production values.

The acting, however, is massively uneven. While most of the key players, and a lot of the secondary parts, give convincing performances, some of the acting is so egregiously bad that it could skew your perspective of the entire film. The megalomaniacal mayor might be an interesting character, but he’s hammed up so much that he’d be more at home in a B-movie than a smart modern zombie film.

otherside3And the plot? I would love to say that it’s amazing, but I can’t. It is unique, though. The use of multiple entwining stories is interesting but (aside from one largely forgettable attack) it delays the action for so long that we have to wait almost an hour for anything to really happen. I’m sure if anyone involved in the film reads this, they’ll shake their heads and say ‘but that’s the point’ and that might be true, but when people want to watch a zombie film, they want to watch zombies. They don’t really want an hour of character development.

Overall this is a strong, well-made effort that is let down by some of the actors and is about thirty minutes longer than it needed to be. While I enjoyed it, I can’t help but feel that it’s a little bit too clever for its own good. I do, however, think that it will inspire up-and-coming directors to experiment with their own plots which could lead to some interesting results..

6/10

Black Water Vampire (2014) DVD Review

bwv1BLACK WATER VAMPIRE (Dir Evan Tramel, USA 2014)

Starring- Danielle Lozeau, Andrea Monier, Anthony Fanelli, Robin Steffen, Bill Oberst Jr.

Released in the UK on DVD from Image Entertainment on March 24th 2014.

 

My second review of 2014 for UK HORROR SCENE and I’m back in the found footage genre again (see my previous review for MUIRHOUSE) and it’s found footage of the usual BLAIR WITCH PROJECT kind, that seems to emphasise a fundamental lack of originality in this sub-genre.

The film follows of a group of amateur filmmakers led by Danielle (Danielle Lozeau), her friend Andrea (Andrea Monier), a cameraman for hire Anthony (Anthoy Fanelli) and their sound guy Robin (Robin Steffen), who are going to film a documentary about the killings in Danielle’s small town of Black Water and try to disprove the guilty verdict of killer convicted of the murders, Raymond Banks (Bill Oberst Jr), who has been convicted of the murders and is currently on death row.

On their arrival in the town we see interview footage with locals, some believing and retelling the tales of the black water vamp, and some saying that they hope Banks burns in hell and that they believe that he is the guilty one. We also get interview footage with the victim’s families and also an interview with Banks, who comes across as a paranoid, wild-eyed stared loony, though could his rants and ravings be true, which then leads into the second part of the film where the group trek into the woods and hope to film at Banks’ cabin and at the murder sites.

Though as soon as dusk falls, and camp is set up, it’s not long till we start hearing strange noises and screams from the outside of the tent, and when dawn comes strange symbols are found on the tent itself, leading the hostility and infighting within the group to arise, and divisions to be formed. Also it doesn’t help that Danielle, is a virgin, believing in abstinence before marriage, which is not good to have, young virgin blood, when their might be a vampire around.

bwv2When I mentioned at the start of this review that this film lacks originality that can so often be seen in found footage, I meant that this film in particular, takes its cues from one of the hallmarks of the genre THE BLAIR WITH PROJECT. The similarity’s are pretty obvious, film crew in the woods, reporting on a local legend that has caused mysterious deaths in the past, symbols being drawn on trees and eventually getting lost in the same woods, and tensions, bickering and arguing between the filmmakers.

The only difference is, is instead of a supernatural entity attacking the group, this time it’s a vampire, which is a neat trick and one that for my knowledge hasn’t been used before, but when it’s placed in the context of woodland area along with symbols associated with the legend, it’s end up being something like the Blair Vampire Project instead.

That’s the disappointing thing about the film, if it was released back in 1999, this would have probably been a superb and original idea, but flash forward 15 years later and it comes off as unoriginal and pretty mediocre, and the concept of a found footage vampire movie, certainly would intrigue me, and I had hopes going in to this one, but ended up finding it more disappointing, that the filmmakers could have done more with the story rather than end up with a laboured running-around-the-woods- in-the-dark shaky camera horror film!

bwv3A couple of plus points, the vampire itself looks pretty cool, and effects wise it’s well done, and Bill Oberst Jr’s one scene performance as the paranoid convict Banks, is good in a scenery chewing sort of way. Overall BLACK WATER VAMPIRE has an idea that could have been approached with some originality instead the filmmakers have opted for a pretty un-original and standard premise which unfortunately does not make the film stand out in the overcrowded found footage sub genre.

3/10