Movie Review – WAX (2014)

Movie Review – Wax (2014) Directed by Victor Matellano. Starring Jimmy Shaw, Jack Taylor, and Geraldine Chaplin.

Part Vincent Price’s “House of Wax”, part Hannibal Lecter, WAX invites the viewer to spend a single night inside an alleged haunted wax museum in Barcelona, Spain with journalist Mike through surveillance cameras, some strategically-placed cameras that Mike sets up, along with Mike’s personal hand-held. Mike agrees to be locked in for the night with no method of communication with the outside world other than a one-way telephone. The producer can call in, but he can’t call out.

What makes this museum just a little different is that one of the main displays depicts a still-living serial killer, Dr. Knox. But, don’t worry. He’s been caught and imprisoned. Along with his wax effigy, are a series of videos recorded by the killer himself, showing in rather gruesome details how he bound, gagged, and ate his victims while they were still alive. As the night progresses, odd things start to happen, items go missing and wax effigies have moved. But, his greatest horror comes when Mike looks at the surveillance camera focused on the Dr. Knox display – and the doctor’s figure is gone.

Mike has no way of getting out of the museum or calling for help. Fortunately, the producer calls periodically and he reports what’s going on to her. She assures him she’ll notify the authorities and get him out soon. In the meantime, just sit tight. Help is on the way! I promise!

I was rather enjoying WAX until about twenty minutes from the ending, then it kind of went South and became a little too predictable. The medical torture scenes were done reasonably well without being too utterly disgusting and there are a few decent T&A shots for those who like that in their Horror movies.  For a moment, it even felt a little Freddie Kruger-ish for some reason. The ending left me feeling somewhat disappointed, but it wasn’t the most horrible thing I’ve watched by a long shot.

There are enough mannequin\wax figure scenes to be kind of creepy, enough surgical gore to make you go ‘eww’ a few times, and a very suspenseful score that keeps you wondering what bit of weirdness was going to happen next. If you’re desperate to watch some Horror and nothing else seems worth the trouble, this will do in a pinch.

2 out of 5 Ravens.

The Raven Scale:
1 Raven: Yuck! Don’t eat that.
2 Ravens: Bread crumbs, but it’ll keep us alive.
3 Ravens: Oh, hey! Peanuts, popcorn and cat kibble!
4 Ravens: Lunch time pizza place dumpster. Hell, yeah!
5 Ravens: Holy Shit, Fellas! Fresh Road Kill!

Movie Review – The Ritual (2017)

Movie Review – The Ritual (2017) starring Rafe Spall, Arsher Ali, Robert James-Collier, and Sam Troughton. Directed by David Bruckner.

Five blokes: Rob, Phil, Dom, Hutch, and Luke, meet in a pub to discuss going on a trip together. Ideas are presented and rejected. Rob suggests a hiking trip in the wilds of Sweden. This too is rejected. On their way home, Rob and Luke stop at a store for another bottle of booze unaware that the place is being robbed. Rob is killed while Luke hides behind a shelf, cowering. This lack of bravery will go on to hunt him for a long time to come. In Rob’s memory, they decide to take the Swedish hiking trip. After Dom falls and injures his knee, they decide the quickest way back to civilization is through the woods, off the beaten path, deep into that place where things can go terribly, terribly bad – and they do.

It’s a cliché set up, to be sure, as the quartet quickly becomes lost and falls into fighting amongst themselves. Runic inscriptions begin to appear in trees, they hear and see something stalking them, something very, very big. Mayhem ensues. Nowhere is safe. The monster is pretty damn cool, I have to admit. I’d love to see a detailed shot of this thing in full light. I’d also like to know what the hell it was beyond the vague description one of the woodland locals gives it as a bastard child of Loki. Maybe it’s just me, but I’d not be at all tempted into worshiping this thing in anyway – sorry, I value my freedom too much to be enslaved to such a being regardless of the prize.

In the end, The Ritual left me unsatisfied. I get the symbolism regarding Luke’s journey to self-forgiveness and the inner demons he was battling even as he and his friends fought for their physical and mental well-being. It was okay and suspenseful and as I said, the monster was pretty damn awesome, but I wanted more explanation as to what it was and the why’s of it all.

2 out of 5 Ravens.

The Raven Scale:
1 Raven: Yuck! Don’t eat that.
2 Ravens: Bread crumbs, but it’ll keep us alive.
3 Ravens: Oh, hey! Peanuts, popcorn and cat kibble!
4 Ravens: Lunch time pizza place dumpster. Hell, yeah!
5 Ravens: Holy Shit, Fellas! Fresh Road Kill!

“The Blob”: Frog Spawn From Outer Space or Jersey Devil Chow?

It’s 1958 and you’re standing in line for the latest horror movie to hit the big screen, The Blob starring Steven McQueen. What you and your fellow movie-goers may be unaware of is that the terror-filled film you are about to watch was inspired by real events!

Flash back to the September 27, 1950 issue of the Philadelphia Enquirer and the headline that announces FLYING ‘SAUCER’ JUST DISSOLVES! The article begins, “Four South Philadelphia police officers had a new explanation last night for what happens to those flying saucers that people are always seeing. They dissolve.”

Two veteran police officers, John Collins and Joe Keenan are out on a routine patrol when they see something unusual in the night sky, a large, glowing, purplish-colored object drifting down to earth. They immediately head towards it in their patrol car and determine the object is going to land in a large, open field about half a block from Vare Avenue and 26th Street. The object reportedly glittered in their headlights as they got closer. After parking, the officers grabbed their flashlights and entered the field, finding a ‘purple jelly’. The substance, approximately six feet in diameter and nearly a foot thick at the center, quivered and appeared to pulse. As if that were not strange enough, when they turned off their flashlights, the purple glob glowed brightly enough to illuminated part of the field. The officers said they got the distinct impression that whatever it was, this thing was alive and they needed backup!

Two more officers, James Cooper and Sergeant Joe Cook, arrived minutes later. After what must have been one of the most bizarre conversations the four men would ever have in their lives, it was decided to try and lift it and get some sort of sample. They circled the mass. Collins was the first to work up the courage to actually touch it. Upon doing so, the blob immediately began to dissolve. It left some traces on his hands, but those too quickly vanished, leaving nothing more behind than an ‘odorless scum’. In less than half an hour the entire object had dissolved.

Seven years later, this particular purple glob would go on to inspire the movie 1958 you is standing in line to see.

StarJelly

Star Jelly. Not Purple. Not Glowing.

However, this was neither the first, nor last, reported incoming glob-blob sighting to fall to earth. Reports date back to as far as the 14th century and as recently as 2001 in both England and Massachusetts. The most common explanation is a substance called ‘Star-Jelly’, believed to be material carried into the Earth’s atmosphere via meteors. It’s not alive, it’s just space goo, the skeptics claim. Another explanation reports that these masses of quivering gel are nothing more than puddles of dead frog eggs. It’s claimed by experts that the eggs could have been dropped by a bird who caught a female frog primed to deposit her eggs. As the bird’s sharp talons disembowel its grab and go meal on the wing, the eggs are unceremoniously spilled and fall back to the ground.

FrogSpawn

Frog Spawn. Still not purple. Still not glowing.

This is all well and good and may explain some of this mystery, but neither of these hypotheses explains the purple glow, the pulsing, or the massive size of the 1950 Philadelphia sighting. That had to have been one hell of a big frog, not to mention the size of the bird it must have taken to catch and carry that unfortunate amphibian away. Remember, it was said to have been six feet across and a foot thick in the middle. Maybe the Jersey Devil was involved in some way. He/She/It is reported to be nocturnal, big, and strong and the Jersey Pine Barrens are less than an hour’s drive from Philadelphia, and a lot closer as the Jersey Devil flies. Plus, since when do frog eggs dissolve when you touch them? I’m a small town girl who’s had more than my fair share of frog egg encounters and, trust me, they don’t just dissolve as described by the four police officers.

So, what was it? Due to lack of any physical evidence whatsoever, we’ll probably never know. Either way, the real events from 1950 certainly inspired one of the greatest B-movies of all time and it’s one I would strongly recommend you see if you haven’t already.

For more in-depth information and speculation on these mysterious globs, check out Rob Morphy’s 2011 article “Beware The Blob” at Mysterious Universe.

Reviews – Two Books & A Movie

According to my Blog Calendar, this is the weekend I should be posting some sort of review, be it a book or a movie. This time around, being as I’ve been so intent on finishing up the first draft of my next Barnesville Chronicle novel this past month, reading anything too long and deep just hasn’t happened.

I haven’t watched any movies worth reviewing. Unless stating that The Adventures of Baron Munchausen isn’t my cup of tea, counts as a review. Technically it’s not a Monty Python movie, but Terry Gilliam and Eric Idle were both involved in its creation, as was Robin Williams! You’d think with that sort of line-up, it’d be something more amazing than I found it to be. It just left me confused and wondering what sort of drug Gilliam was on when he came up with all this. About halfway through, I decided I had more interesting things to do, like sort through my dresser for old clothes worthy of being donated somewhere.

Moving along, I did do a bit of reading.

Dreaming At The Top Of My Lungs by Israel Finn is a collection of short stories of the horror variety. There’s always a touch of envy in me for people who can pull off a successful short story. In a mere 112 pages, Israel managed to keep me fully engaged and amused for about ten days. As with any collection or anthology, by even the most famous of writers, there are going to be stories that readers will enjoy more than others. I have to be honest and say that there were a few in this collection I didn’t quite ‘get’ or felt like they were lacking somehow. However, the majority of them I thoroughly enjoyed and enough so that I’d easily consider picking up more work from this up-and-coming author. My biggest complaint about this book is that it was far, far too short.

Loch Ness Revenge by Hunter Shea was another quick read for me, coming in at 141 pages. Hunter is a pro at sucking the reader in and half-chewing them before spitting them back out covered in blood, goo, and whatever other sorts of partially digested stomach contents may have been in there at the time. And I mean that in nicest way possible. If you enjoy monster killing mayhem and madness, you really should check out not just Loch Ness Revenge, but all his other cryptid tales. I have the same complaint with this as I did Israel’s book – too short. I wanted more details about the characters and their lives, but with these shorter books, Hunter’s skills and talents as a story teller aren’t being put to their full potential. I really do prefer his novel length works. For me, a story is only as good as how well I get to know the players.

Short and sweet this time around, folks. I have some thicker works reaching the top of my TBR pile now and with first draft of my latest Barnesville Chronicle, The Witch’s Backbone finally done, maybe I’ll find some breathing room to do more reading.

Movie Review – 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

Rated R – Psychological Thriller starring John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and John Gallagher Jr. – Directed by Dan Trachtenberg

If you haven’t seen Cloverfield, go and do that first. Although you don’t NEED to have seen it to enjoy this sequel, it will help give you a better overall feeling for what’s going on.

After an argument with her boyfriend, Michelle (Winstead) packs up and leaves town. While on the road, her car is struck and crashes in a roadside ditch. On waking, she finds herself hooked to an IV, wearing a knee brace, and chained to the wall. She soon meets her captor, Howard (Goodman) who is just another crazy, conspiracy-theorist prepper who’s gone to the trouble of building a fallout shelter in his back yard, which is where they now are. A third member of the group, Emmet (Gallagher), confirms what Howard is saying, that something, and he’s not exactly sure what, has happened, but something that has resulted in the surface being uninhabitable for at least two year.

Howard is full of crazy talk, but just how crazy is he? If he’s not crazy, then some very, very bad things are going on topside. If he is crazy then some very, very bad things are going on underground because Howard isn’t being completely honest about elements of his story and explanations. Either way, it’s all good for us viewers. 10 Cloverfield Lane is full of suspense and it’s going to keep you guessing until the bitter end at just exactly where Howard stands on the Sane to Insane scale.

This is my kind of movie, the psychological thriller, and it lives up to that genre exceptionally well in my opinion. I love how it incorporates elements of the original Cloverfield, yet it still holds up well as a standalone story. The acting was well done and I was very impressed with Goodman’s portrayal of a nut job!

Five out of Five Ravens!

Movie Review – Split (2017)

Directed by M. Night Shyamalan. Starring James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy and Betty Buckley.

We’re told that Kevin Crumb has 23 personalities. Via four (maybe five) of his other personalities, two of which seem to have schemed together to kidnap three teenage girls, we’re told that the bad ass 24th personality, known as The Beast, is on his way. Kevin’s therapist, Dr. Karen Fletcher, starts getting emergency emails from the others pleading for help, but is then misled by the personality that shows up for the session the next day. Something’s not right and she knows it, but can’t quite put her finger on what’s going on.

M. Night Shyamalan usually does not disappoint, but this time I’m on the fence with just how much I liked or didn’t like this movie. The pacing as wonderful. The tension grew at just the right pace and James McAvoy did a pretty good job of portraying the personalities we meet. What disappointed me was the fact that those six personalities are the only ones we ever see. In fact, we never even meet the original Kevin until the very end. Why bother having the other 18 if we’re never going to be introduced to them? I felt ripped off.

The ending was somewhat confusing. I get that it is a reference to another Shyamalan film, but I don’t understand the connection. Maybe I’m not supposed to? Maybe I have to wait for a third movie to explain to me the link between these others? Either way, it wasn’t satisfying and I left the theater feeling a little let down with the whole thing.

Had this been something I’d watched on Netflix or Amazon Prime for a much less expensive price tag, maybe I’d have enjoyed it more.

3 out of 5 Ravens

 

Movie Review – Boggy Creek Monster (Documentary) 2016

Based on Lyle Blackburn’s 2012 book, The Beast of Boggy Creek, and produced by Small Town Monster Films, this hour-long documentary begins where The Legend of Boggy Creek ended back in 1972.

Like so many of my generation, I saw the The Legend of Boggy Creek when I was an impressionable youngster. It struck terror into the hearts of many. I’ve watched other documentaries on Bigfoot, as per my reviews HERE, and most were more than a little hokey. Not so with Boggy Creek Monster. Lyle has a serious curiosity about this legend and listens with genuine interest to the current residents of Fouke, Arkansas where it started.

You’ll learn back story that wasn’t touched on in the original movie and you’ll be brought up to date with sightings that still go on to this day. Previously unreleased audio recordings of Smokey Crabtree make their debut as well as interviews with current relatives of the Crabtrees and other families that were present during the initial filming in the early 1970s.

This documentary really makes me want return to Fouke with a little more time and a little more exploration. It’s a must-see for anyone who grew up both loving and fearing the ‘monster’ of Boggy Creek.

My only complaint … it wasn’t long enough.

4.5 out of 5.0 Ravens

Watch the trailer HERE.

 

Binging On Bigfoot

The 1970s was a, well, BIG decade for Bigfoot. It seemed like he was everywhere. On Saturday mornings we had ‘Bigfoot and Wild Boy”. Steve Austin took on a robotic version of the creature in The Six-Million Dollar Man, and of course, Leonard Nimoy went ‘In Search Of … Bigfoot.” There was even a Bigfoot board game where you got to track the elusive beast. But where Sasquatch really made his biggest imprint was at the movies!

When I learned about last month’s released of Boggy Creek Monster: The Truth Behind The Legend the spiral into the depth of my childhood and my love and fascination with all things Bigfoot struck anew.  I selected five films from those fabulous 70’s to either watch for the first time or watch yet again to remind myself how good or bad they really were.

And so without further delay, let’s begin our Bigfoot Binge!

Bigfoot (1970) – Directed by Robert Slatzer. Starring John Carradine and Joi Lanning.

Two buxom and scantily clad babes are kidnapped by a small band of Bigfoots (or is that Bigfeet?)… Anyway … One of the ladies is part of a motorcycle ‘gang’ and her boyfriend isn’t too happy about his girl being taken hostage. Having been separated from his biker friends because these two just HAD to stop and have a romantic interlude down by the creek, and unable to catch up with them down the road, Rick returns to the general store where the group last stopped. With the locals and law enforcement unwilling to believe the biker’s story, he enlists the help of two traveling salesmen who just happen to have rifles and flashlights on hand.

Eventually it’s all-out war as Rick’s biker friends, who have returned to lend a hand, two traveling salesmen, three Indians, and Rick all chase down the leader of the Bigfoot band to try and save themselves and the kidnapped beauties!

Even John Carradine couldn’t save this one.

Watch It Here:  Bigfoot (1970)

The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972) – Directed by Charles B. Pierce. Narrated by Vern Stierman. Starring: The Fine Folks of Fouke, Arkansas as themselves.

In October 2014 on a return trip home from Texas, we decided to make a small detour to Fouke, Arkansas to realize a childhood dream, to see for ourselves where this movie was filmed.  As with many of our little trips, I wish we’d had more time to explore. As it was we were able to stop at Monster Mart and get a few souvenirs and pictures, but little else.

Told from the perspective of a young man growing up in the small town of Fouke, Arkansas, ‘The Legend of Boggy Creek’ always seems to stir up a lively conversation for people of a certain age who remember seeing it youngsters and being completely terrified by it. I am one of those people. The film is sort of a documentary, in that it stars mostly locals of the area telling and re-creating their lives during the time of the sightings.

I do have to wonder just how much of this is based on fact and how much has been over-dramatized or completely fictionalized to make it more interesting and profitable. Either way, it was realistic and creepy enough for an entire generation of people to never, ever forget it and to seek it out again for at least another couple of viewings as adults. This was without a doubt, the first Bigfoot movie I ever saw and I’m pretty sure it’s probably why to this day, I hate looking out my windows at night for fear of seeing someone, or something, standing out there looking back at me.

Additional movies, Return to Boggy Creek (1977), Boggy Creek 2: The Legend Continues (1985) and Bigfoot: Boggy Creek (2010) have all tried to capitalize on the story, but none were ever able to beat the popularity of the original. I am truly hoping the newest film mentioned earlier won’t disappoint.

Watch It Here:  The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972)

Mysterious Monsters: Bigfoot (1975) Documentary. Narrated by Peter Graves

Documentaries on Bigfoot (and a myriad of other cryptids) seem to have run rampant back in the good old 70s. In this case, the first fifteen minutes are devoted to the Loch Ness monster, before moving on to Bigfoot. Full of historic still photos, early captures on audio and video along with dramatized eyewitness accounts as well as statements given by the real witnesses, we are also told about other man-apes found throughout the world, Bigfoot as known by his many names worldwide, Yeti, Sasquatch, the Abominable Snowman, and Skunk Ape.

All in all, a seriously done documentary on what we knew and what was going on in the world of Bigfoot research in 1975. Though it’s a bit outdated, it’s still an interesting and informative watch.

Watch It Here: Mysterious Monster: Bigfoot (1975)

Sasquatch: The Legend of Bigfoot (1977) – Rated G – Directed by Ed Ragazonni. Starring George Lauris, Steve Boergadine, Ken Kenzle, Jim Bradford, Joe Morello

I saw this movie for the first time when it came out in theatres. My grandmother had wanted to treat me to a movie and being the odd child I was, this was my pick. She wasn’t so thrilled with my choice, but eleven-year-old me thought it was totally awesome at the time! It left me scared for many years. As an adult viewing it again, okay, maybe not quite so much, but it’s still a fun watch!

Seven men head out on horseback for a three-month-long expedition into the wilds of the American Northwest in search of Sasquatch. Among them we have the obligatory Mountain Man, a Native American guide, and the camp cook who also happens to be a crack shot with a rifle and, along with some pesky raccoons and a badger, provides us with comic relief along the way.

In between the long stretches of very Disney-esque scenes that felt more like a nature show than a movie about tracking Bigfoot, we are told some frightening tales in the form of flashbacks about previous encounters with the infamous creature in the area.

Our intrepid group doesn’t reach their destination, the heart of Sasquatch country, until the final fifteen-twenty minutes of the movie, but boy do they get what they’ve been asking for in those final minutes.

Watch It Here: The Legend of Bigfoot (1977)

The Capture of Bigfoot (1979) Directed by Bill Rebane. Starring Janus Raudkivi, Randolph Rebane and Stafford Morgan

Initially I was scared, very, very scared at what this movie might contain, being as it was brought to us by those same people who produced Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead. But, I took a deep breath and braced myself for whatever I was about to commit myself to.

This time around we’re hunting Bigfoot in the American ‘North Country’, in this case that’s Wisconsin, where Bigfoot apparently prefers to wear white. Or maybe they’re like certain rabbits who change the color of their fur to suit the seasons.

Two trappers make the catch of the century when they snare a baby Bigfoot. Mama Bigfoot doesn’t take too kindly to this, leaving one trapper dead and the other seriously mauled. Word quickly spreads and soon others are out hunting down these elusive beasts and, as we all know, no good ever comes of a greedy business man who wants to cash in on capturing Bigfoot, some angry, gun-toting hunters, law enforcement, a vengeful Bigfoot Mama, and a nearby ski resort.

I was surprised at how good this movie actually turned out to be. I’m not saying it was good. I’m saying it wasn’t absolutely horrible. The acting was pretty good and the plot was interesting enough to keep me watching to the bitter end. And, they very skillfully included a couple of kids in one of the side plots. This would be a good one to watch while up in your winter lodge on a dark and snowy night.

Watch It Here: The Capture of Bigfoot (1979)

And there you have it, my lead up to viewing the newest film Boggy Creek Monster: The Truth Behind The Legend which, hopefully will be happening this weekend. Maybe even tonight! To learn more about this one, check out an interview with one of its creators, Lyle Blackburn over at the Monster Men Podcast on YouTube Episode #114 along with this trailer Boggy Creek Monster Trailer.

 

 

Movie Review – Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead (2006)

Genre: Horror-Comedy-Soft Porn-Musical. Directed by: Lloyd Kaufman. Starring:  Jason Yachanin, Kate Graham, Allyson Sreboff, & Robin L. Watkins. Cameo appearance by Ron Jeremy.

Fast food franchise, American Chicken Bunker, sets up shop atop a Native American Burial ground. Never a good idea. Not only are the locals up in arms over the sacrilege, but so are the spirits of those buried beneath and the carcasses of the chickens being slaughtered for mass consumption.

As my fellow viewer remarked, “[This was] the worst movie I have ever been unable to stop watching.” I’m not sure where to even go with this review. If you are easily offended by folks not being politically correct, you’ll want to pass by this one. Pretty much every race, religion, and sexual orientation is pushed to the limits of its current controversial stereotype. If you can let that kind of thing slide and understand it’s just a movie, you’ll be fine. Likewise, if images of explosive diarrhea and projectile vomiting leave you feeling queasy, again – you’ll want to skip this, or be sure to have a puke bucket near at hand just in case.

However, if you’re the sort that enjoys a bit of youthful T&A, folks getting dismembered in a variety of ways, gallons and gallons and gallons of blood flying sky high, campy comedy and even a bit of song and dance to help lighten the mood between horrific deaths, Poultrygeist may just be what you’re looking for. The special effects and make-up were actually pretty damn impressive. And who doesn’t love fried chicken … especially fried chicken with ‘flavor pods’? MM-mm-good.

As we sat there watching, it was remarked that this came out of someone’s mind. Which in and of itself is a terrifying thought. On top of that people invested in this; real money was spent to the tune of around $500,000.

It was certainly entertaining, but not in the way either of us watching expected it to be. It delivered at being a horror and a comedy. We were horrified and we did laugh. The musical element, well, not the best songs or choreography, but there you go. As for the soft-porn, meh … it really didn’t do a thing for me but then I’m neither a hetero-male nor a lesbian, so … do with that what you will.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 Ravens.

Movie Review – 400 Days (2015)

Genre: Mystery/Sci-Fi. Directed by Matt Osterman. Starring Brandon Routh, Caity Lotz, Ben Feldman and Dane Cook

Normally I don’t go for Science Fiction, but while channel surfing the other night I chanced upon this gem and the notation that it was a psychological thriller as well as a mystery got my attention quick.

Four future astronauts are about to undergo 400 Days of testing to determine if they’ve got what it takes to endure a long voyage into space. They are locked into an underground replica of the space ship they hope to fly if they pass the tests. They’re told they will be subjected to various stressful simulations to gauge their reactions.

Everything seems to be going as planned until after what feels like an earthquake shudders their ship and they are suddenly cut off from mission control. They take it as just part of the simulation and continue with their duties as assigned. Slowly they each seem to be succumbing to the stress of their isolation from the outside world and are getting on each others nerves in such close quarters. Hallucinations start to take place. The power falters. Mission control will not, or cannot, answer. Has something gone terribly wrong or are they just being tested?

One night a half-naked and crazed man is found rummaging around in the ship’s kitchen. He is quickly subdued, but now they know something is definitely not right. Where did he come from? How did he get in? Before they can ask him any questions, the man escapes and is nowhere to be found on the ship. The final straw comes when the crew wakes up to a severe drop in the oxygen levels of their controlled environment. Life support systems have slowly been failing over the past months. They must decide.

Do they leave the ship and forfeit the simulated mission, thus surrendering a chance to be part of the real crew and flight into space or do they stay and hope the atmospheric conditions are all part of the test and all will be returned to normal soon.

They decide to suit up and head outside. Enough is enough. What they find is a world in darkness, dust, and ruin. And still, they don’t know if this too is part of the simulation or reality. What’s out there in the windy blackness that was once a grassy field and trees? Where did the intruder come from and where did he go? Are they still being watched or are they completely alone?

I enjoyed this movie a lot more than I thought I would, and I’m glad I saw that psychological thriller part of the description. I may have passed it by otherwise. There are almost no modern special effects. Instead the movie relies on a strong plot, lots of twists, very realistic human reactions to what’s going on, and a lot of mystery. The only part I didn’t like was the ending. No, no, sir. I don’t like endings like that at all!

4 out of 5 Ravens.