From Riley on Film: “The Amityville Horror, 1979 – ★★★★★”

As if it’s never been said before, this is a must for horror fans. It took me way too long to see it due to false ratings and skewed reviewers. This is the creepy kibd of film I look for. It’s not gory but the scenes make you squirm.

Margot Kidder and James Brolin are the parents in a family that just mo ed in. Brolin is truly good, especially in the latter half where he really owns a tough part as good as any Nicholson could.

I noticed one of the child actors, K.C. Martel, was in E.T. Also, the area priest who comes down to hear the story is the Real Estate boss in Poltergeist. Finally, take it for what it’s worth but the harbor town in Jaws is called “Amity?” Could there be something here?

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From Riley on Film: “(Podcast) The Village (2004)”

Listen here –> thedrpodcast.com/the-village-2004/

This is my audio review of The Village (2004). Directed by M. Night Shyamalan. With Sigourney Weaver, William Hurt, Joaquin Phoenix, Bryce Dallas Howard. A series of events tests the beliefs of a small isolated countryside village.

It is a much loved film by me and select few others. It didn’t do amazingly at the box office but I find this spooky film mesmerizing and profound. Have a listen and find out why. I welcome your comments here on the site or on my twitter @thedrpodcast NOTE: This is film #24 in my current podcast series I call “Damien’s Top 20 Spooky Horror Films.” Tune in next week when I cover #23 “Head Count (2018).”

Published first at the DRP film podcast: bit.ly/2N2ffbS

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From Riley on Film: “(Podcast) Films Reviewed: Husk, Touch of Evil, Long Weekend + 7 More”

Listen here –> thedrpodcast.com/films-reviewed-husk-touch-of-evil-long-weekend-7-more/

Touch of Evil, Husk, Skin, Long Weekend, The Abandoned, Avenged, Rust Creek, Lake Mungo, Dolores Claiborne, & The House That Dripped Blood. In this episode I preview these 10 films.

Touch of Evil

1. Touch of Evil (1958)

PG-13 | 95 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir 8  9 99 Metascore

A stark, perverse story of murder, kidnapping, and police corruption in a Mexican border town.

Director: Orson Welles | Stars: Charlton HestonOrson WellesJanet Leigh,Joseph Calleia

Votes: 93,196 | Gross: $2.24MWatch Now 
From $3.99 on Prime Video

Husk

2. Husk (2011)

R | 83 min | Horror, Thriller 5.2  6

A group of friends stranded near a desolate cornfield find shelter in an old farmhouse, though they soon discover the dwelling is the center of a supernatural ritual.

Director: Brett Simmons | Stars: Devon GrayeWes ChathamC.J. ThomasonTammin Sursok

Votes: 9,020Watch Now 
From $3.99 on Prime Video

Skin

3. Skin (V) (2018)

R | 120 min | Biography, Crime, Drama 7  9 58 Metascore

A destitute young man, raised by racist skinheads and notorious among white supremacists, turns his back on hatred and violence to transform his life, with the help of a black activist and the woman he loves.

Director: Guy Nattiv | Stars: Jamie BellDanielle MacdonaldDaniel HenshallBill Camp

Votes: 5,117

Long Weekend

4. Long Weekend (1978)

Not Rated | 97 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller 6.7  9

When a suburban couple go camping for the weekend at a remote beach, they discover that nature isn’t in an accommodating mood.

Director: Colin Eggleston | Stars: John HargreavesBriony BehetsMike McEwenRoy Day

Votes: 3,512

Prime

The Abandoned

5. The Abandoned (2006)

R | 99 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller 5.6  10 42 Metascore

An adopted woman returns to her home country and the family home that she never knew and must face the mystery that lies there.

Director: Nacho Cerdà | Stars: Anastasia HilleKarel RodenValentin GoshevValentin Ganev

Votes: 12,059 | Gross: $1.26M

Avenged

6. Avenged (2013)

95 min | Action, Fantasy, Horror 5.5  10

A deaf girl is brutalized by a murderous gang who are then hunted by her when the bloodthirsty spirit of an Apache warrior inhabits her lifeless body.

Director: Michael S. Ojeda | Stars: Amanda Adrienne SmithMarc Anthony SamuelRodney RowlandTom Ardavany

Votes: 3,105

Tubi tv

Rust Creek

7. Rust Creek (2018)

R | 108 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller 5.7  10 59 Metascore

An overachieving college student gets lost on her way to a job interview. A wrong turn leaves her stranded deep in the Kentucky forest.

Director: Jen McGowan | Stars: Hermione CorfieldDenise Dal VeraJeremy GlazerLaura Guzman

Votes: 3,128Watch Now 
From $12.99 on Prime Video

Lake Mungo

8. Lake Mungo (2008)

R | 87 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery 6.2  6

Strange things start happening after a girl is found drowned in a lake.

Director: Joel Anderson | Stars: Rosie TraynorDavid PledgerMartin Sharpe,Talia Zucker

Votes: 13,470Watch Now 
With Prime Video + 1 more

Prime

Dolores Claiborne

9. Dolores Claiborne (1995)

R | 132 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery 7.4  9 62 Metascore

A big-city reporter travels to the small town where her mother has been arrested for the murder of an elderly woman that she works for as a maid.

Director: Taylor Hackford | Stars: Kathy BatesJennifer Jason Leigh,Christopher PlummerJudy Parfitt

Votes: 35,520 | Gross: $24.36MWatch Now 
From $2.99 on Prime Video

Not Streaming for free

The House That Dripped Blood

10. The House That Dripped Blood (1971)

GP | 102 min | Horror 6.6  Rate 55 Metascore

An anthology of four horror stories revolving around a mysterious rental house in the U.K.

Director: Peter Duffell | Stars: John BryansJohn BennettJohn Malcolm,Denholm Elliott

Votes: 4,405Watch Now 
With Prime Video + 1 more

Prime

Published first at the DRP film podcast: bit.ly/2H1CZsZ

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From Riley on Film: “Husk, 2011 – ★★★”

I’m almost at a loss for words. I want to recommend this movie but it has a lot of holes in plot. Some people will enjoy the jump scares, others will like the complex mystery that unfolds.

It’s a one dimensional slasher but someimes that’s just what I want. This is worth a watch I think but it’s nonsense.

“A group of friends stranded near a desolate cornfield find shelter in an old farmhouse, though they soon discover the dwelling is the center of a supernatural ritual.” (imdb)

What did you think of this horror movie?

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From Riley on Film: “Long Weekend, 1978 – ★★★★½”

I’ll be up front about this film being dated. Still, I was very drawn in right away. It would seem this guy needs relationship skills. The woman takes on all the work in planning for their “getaway.” They are going camping. I think there are very few women who would find that romantic.

Human vs Nature is the theme here. It’s as if nature is seeking revenge. The end is unpredicatble and this film is highly entertaining. It is a bit too much of a slow burn but it only loses one point with me for that. Getting to the end is worth it.

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From Riley on Film: “Savaged, 2013 – ★★★★★”

This revenge thriller has to be a 10. I was skeptical at first thinking I had here a variant of “I Spit on Your Grave.” Fortunately I was overjoyed to see this original take on that subgenre.

It tricks you by looking cheap in the intro. Soon thereafter there are powerful practical effects and a story that gets more creative by the half-hour. I was thoroughly satisfied with this film. 

At times it reminded me of “Darkman” in the way the protagonist dealt with his macabre transformation. Watch this!!!

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From Riley on Film: “Rust Creek, 2018 – ★★★★★ (contains spoilers)”

This review may contain spoilers.

Jen McGowan directs this crime thriller with amazing dexterity. This is just what feminism needs in this genre today. You will recall the highly recognized film “Boys Don’t Cry” and its graphic scenes. This one has them too but with a lighter subject: A college valedictorian lost and kidnapped in the woods. Strong men have the upper hand but McGowan is showing us even strong men had better “Choose their prey carefully.” 

I loved the cinematography in the woods. The meth subplot is a bit canned but she made it all into something original and powerful. This is a revenge thriller and I was highly satisfied with the ending. Everyone should have a memento to share on Thanksgiving. That’s a quip, a wink, no spoilers here. Watch this film!!!

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From Riley on Film: “The Abandoned, 2006 – ★★★★★”

This is an entertaining horror. As is common with Mexican and Spanish directors, much care and art was given to the music and the settings of the piece. The story is a little hard to grasp so I just let it wash over me with very good emotive results. It’s not full of jump scares but takes you on a lovely dark journey.

The basic story is: “An adopted woman returns to her home country and the family home that she never knew and must face the mystery that lies there.” (IMDB)

I don’t think the director means for you to figure it out, he rather wants you to have a personal experience with this film. Though it’s been his last work since 2006, I still hope for another feature film from him. His name is Nacho Cerdà. If you know him, let him know I think he is amazing!

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Ruby Sparks (w my Audio and Written Commentary)

Ruby Sparks is a romantic comedy written by Zoe Kazan. Ruby is a fictional character thought up in the movie by a successful writer in his early twenties played by Paul Dano.

Audio commentary from ‘The Damien Riley Podcast’ episode: Ruby Sparks

Much to his surprise, one day Ruby comes to life and takes on the role of his real life girlfriend. After that a roller coaster of emotions and love lessons ensue. For me, the strongest message in the movie is about the power we try to exert over each other in relationships. It has a truly all-star cast including Annette Bening, Antonio Banderas, Elliot Gould, and many more. Though the film started slow for me, it picked up in the middle and became a very fun and emotion-filled ride. I read online while watching the movie that the actress playing Ruby, Zoe Kazan, is the actual writer of the movie. For this reason, the audience gets the perspective of a woman being invented and controlled by an actual woman writer. I was impressed by Miss Kazan and will look for more from her in the future.

Final Thought: Relationships are often funny but more often perplexing. This movie uses metaphor and satire in the form of this invented woman to address some of those difficult issues. Paul Dano does a very nice job as a young writer trying to figure out life and love. He has definite ideas about what Ruby should be and he writes them clearly. I felt a real-life connection to what he was doing when he “wrote Ruby.” I thought at one point, “How would I ‘write’ my wife if I had the magic typewriter?” Through most of the movie I knew I would not rewrite her one iota. I think that is the message of the movie. We want “the perfect spouse” but in reality, we don’t know what that is for us. Better to let our spouse have her/his imperfections than try to craft them into something “perfect.” If those themes sound interesting, you’ll love this romantic comedy. I give it 5/5 stars. In some ways for me it was a perfect film experience.