Friday, July 20, 2018

Screenings in the Bay (Friday to Sunday): Unfriended: Dark Web, Frozen Film Festival, SF Jewish Film Festival

Happy Friday guys! This is a pretty slow week for genre, but a great one for things you probably haven't seen. First off (the film I've been waiting for for months), UNFRIENDED: DARK WEB opens everywhere today! I was extremely excited to be able to see this film last week at an advanced screening, along with several of the Overlook creatures. You can find our review HERE. This was a strong addition to the POV cinema catalog and I absolutely recommend seeing it in theatres. 

But if you're looking for something to do throughout the rest of the week, there is a variety of film festivals happening ll over the city. The SF Jewish Film Festival has movies at several theatres across the bay area, whereas the SF Frozen Film Festival is only at the Roxie. And yes, there's at least one horror block.

Opening This Week

Unfriended: Dark Web (2018)
Opens Friday 20th (1hr 28min)
Horror (Rotten Tomatoes)
When a 20-something finds a cache of hidden files on his new laptop, he and his friends are unwittingly thrust into the depths of the dark web. They soon discover someone has been watching their every move and will go to unimaginable lengths to protect the dark web.

SF Jewish Film Festival

Saturday 21st @ 8:55pm (1hr 14min)
Thriller (IMDB)
On a cold, wintry night, Lena shows up on the doorstep of the Rossberg family mansion. She claims her car has broken down, but her arrival is intentional. Lena is in pursuit of Anselm Rossberg, an aged Auschwitz guard who lives with his daughter, Maria. Anselm and Maria both deny Anselm's past, but Lena is determined to get him to confess, even as her own weapon is turned on her and she is forced into a moral dilemma.

Frozen Film Fest

All Weekend
The San Francisco Frozen Film Festival (SFFFF) is a Nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2006 that is dedicated to creating avenues for independent filmmakers, youth, filmmakers of conscience, and artists from underserved communities to come together and exhibit their work to the widest possible audience.

Sci-Fi/Horror Block Sunday 22nd @ 9pm


Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Overlook Theatre Reviews: UnFriended: Dark Web

5 of 5 viewers "Liked" "Unfriended: Dark Web" (2018, USA)
Creature reviews have been minimally altered in an attempt to maintain their voice:

Lord Battle - "If you consider yourself computer literate but not savvy enough for a tech job, Unfriended: Dark Web just might scare the shit out of you. Seriously, if you've covered a computer camera with tape before, this film might make you consider installing a rootery phone. Unfriended: Dark Web is a terrifying hallmark of modern culture mythology and at one time manages to be fast-paced enough for the worst of the phone abusing current theatergoers, yet employs a perfect illusion of a story unfolding live. As a fanboy of the found footage genre, I find this to be as entertaining as the best of them. As a self-proclaimed found footage philosopher, I find the medium exploration to be enthralling, but yet I can't forgive the final moment of this film even if the reveal was worthwhile." - 4.5 Stars

The Berekely Blazer - "The original Unfriended was immersive, using a virtually uninterrupted social media viewer POV to tell the familiar story of teenagers of dubious morality being punished for their supposed sins in a riveting way. This sequel changes the focus from supernatural (?) ghost revenge to diabolical dark web haxxors, hence the title Dark Web. Once again, we are pulled into the lives of assorted lively young Skype faces, this time former college chums who are overall less juvenile in age and manner than the first Unfriended.  The computer screen conception still holds together here, and the promise of our cast wandering closer and closer to danger drives us to care about (or at least take interest in) their fate, even when things take a turn for the mildly absurd.  Despite having a relatively realistic premise, Dark Web feels a bit more madcap horror hijinks than horrifying. It’s never not interesting, but 2/3rds of the way in I lost a sense of tension and was amusedly yet genuinely curious about how everything would unfold.  Mild non-narrative spoiler:  the film becomes a Rube-Goldberg of death showpiece i.e. a non-supernatural final destination.  It doesn’t hurt the film, but it’s ultimately not as disturbing as straightforward rising emotional crescendo that was the original. A final note: Dark Web is surprisingly restrained when it comes to gore, considering how it’s been promoted. I appreciated this, but particular types of horror people may leave the theatre dissatisfied." - 3.5 Stars

Huntress - "Too often sequels rely on the success of their first films to bring them a built in audience, regardless of whether they deserve the attention or not. Luckily that was not the case with Unfriended: Dark Web. Although entirely unrelated to Unfriended, Dark Web is a strong stand-alone film that takes the familiar Skype POV filming style and loads it with creative solutions to keep it from getting stale. The kills are original and I almost didn't want them to happen because I liked so many of the characters. And although some of the dialogue didn't feel like something a human being would say, most of it felt authentic. And the hurdles that were thrown at them were intense. My only complaint is that everyone in this movie was too pretty, which made it feel too Hollywood." - 4 Stars

The Impostor - "Finally a new found footage film on the big screen again! Unfriended: Dark Web did not disappoint. If you enjoy the original Unfriended that was released in 2014, then you will love its sequel as well. Dark Web takes a different and wider approach to the internet world and the dark side of things. The characters this time around are likable for the most part and I found myself caring for them more than I expected to. I recommend going in blind and trying to avoid any previews, as there are a few surprises that shocked me. An overall satisfying sequel that I think is as good as the original, if not better!" - 5 Stars

Wandering Panda - "'They're Watching...' I love this film!! It's a really scary portrayal of the 'Deep Web' and what now seems like a more accurate depiction of human trafficking. It's believable. The film locked me in and I very much enjoyed it. I praise the editors for the fluidity of this film and making it seem like one long take!!! Amazing, simply amazing. The cast is great, I liked them more than the first cast. They used their brains and acted accordingly, though they were severely outmatched!! That's the one thing I didn't like; there was no moment of hope. They never stood a  chance!! But that's nitpicking. I advise anyone who knows the slightest bit about computers to watch this film. You'll enjoy it more than a casual user." - 4.5 Stars

The Overlook Theatre Final Rating*
(Below is for after you've seen the film)

Our screening at the AMC Metreon was a little over half full. I've been thinking about this ever since the screening... Personally, I'm upset because I love the Found Footage horror genre and would like to see more films hit wide releases (Unfriended 2 won't help this cause). I was also upset because the movie is fucking GOOD. The audience's reaction that night ranged from a lady behind us saying "I'm going home and smashing my computer" to a guy three seats to our left laughing at every kill. Mind you, this film plays out like a more realistic version of the original, minus a ghost. Our neighbor was clearly trying to distance himself. I will admit that the film ramps up to a point that gets a little hard to swallow, but that's when I was reminded of San Francisco's own Dread Pirate Roberts, who easily could have been cast as a character in this film.

The Dread Pirate Roberts aka Ross Ulbricht

When the FBI arrested Ulbricht in the science fiction section of a San Francisco public library in October of 2013, his fingers were literally on the keyboard of his laptop, logged into the Silk Road's "mastermind" account. On his seized laptop's hard drive, investigators quickly found a journal, daily logbook, and thousands of pages of private chat logs that chronicled his years of planning, creating and day-to-day running of the Silk Road. That red-handed evidence was bolstered by a college friend of Ulbricht's who testified at trial that the young Texan had confessed creating the Silk Road to him. On top of that, notes found crumpled in his bedroom's trashcan connected to the Silk Road's code. Ulbricht's guilty verdict was even further locked down by a former FBI agent's analysis that traced $13.4 million worth of the black market's bitcoins from the Silk Road's servers in Iceland and Pennsylvania to the bitcoin wallet on Ulbricht laptop.

My point here is that maybe our homie three seats down was laughing at how implausible the whole story was. Why would the Dark Web look like an 8-bit river?! Well, why would a 30-year-old refer to himself as a character from the Princess Bride? Seriously, click both of the above links and then go see Unfriended: Dark Web!

- Lord Battle

The Overlook Theatre materialized at AMC Metreon for an early screening on 7/12/2018
*Based on the star ratings turned in by character reviewers, others viewed and got to "Dislike" or "Like" but that does not affect the rating.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Bluray Tuesday: Truth or Dare, You Were Never Really Here & Rampage

July 17th 2018

Our favorite day of the week returns and this Bluray Tuesday is filled with some exciting titles. First up is Rampage, based on the 80's arcade game and starring The Rock. All of The Rock's films are starting to look alike lately but this one caught my attention because I remember playing the game as a kid. Best Buy will carry an exclusive Steelbook edition of this including a 4K copy of the movie. Blumhouse's Truth or Dare is also released today with an alternate ending in a all new Unrated cut. Arrow Video releases Doom Asylum this week and I'm loving the cover for it. I haven't heard of this film but I definitely wanna check it out in the near future. You Were Never Really Here has gotten amazing reviews from its run in select theaters earlier this year and is one I have been wanting to check out as well. Rounding out the week is Traffik, I Feel Pretty and Isle of Dogs. So what will you buy, rent or skip this week? Let us know in the comments. Until next week!

Truth or Dare: Amazon - $19.99

Olivia, Lucas and a group of their college friends travel to Mexico for one last getaway before graduation. While there, a stranger convinces one of the students to play a seemingly harmless game of truth or dare with the others. Once the game starts, it awakens something evil -- a demon which forces the friends to share dark secrets and confront their deepest fears. The rules are simple but wicked -- tell the truth or die, do the dare or die, and if you stop playing, you die.

Truth or Dare (Blu-ray) 

You Were Never Really Here: Amazon - $18.99

A missing teenage girl. A brutal and tormented enforcer on a rescue mission. Corrupt power and vengeance unleash a storm of violence that may lead to his awakening.

You Were Never Really Here (Blu-ray) 

Doom Asylum: Amazon - $27.99

A demented coroner uses autopsy equipment to kill off the teenagers who trespass on the long-abandoned asylum he inhabits. Filmed on location in an actual abandoned asylum.

Doom Asylum (Blu-ray) 

Super Troopers 2: Amazon - $19.99

Fired for their previous shenanigans, former Vermont Highway Patrol officers Thorny, Farva, Rabbit, Foster and Mac get a shot at redemption from Capt. O'Hagan and Gov. Jessan. The wacky quintet must provide law enforcement for a French Canadian town that's transitioning to U.S. sovereignty. Their unconventional methods soon get put to the test when they encounter a smarmy mayor, mischievous Mounties, a smuggling ring and a 1,300-pound bear.

Super Troopers 2 (Blu-ray) 

Rampage: Amazon - $24.99
4K: Amazon - $29.99

Primatologist Davis Okoye, a man who keeps people at a distance, shares an unshakable bond with George, the extraordinarily intelligent silverback gorilla who has been in his care since birth. But a rogue genetic experiment mutates this gentle ape into a raging creature of enormous size. To make matters worse, it’s soon discovered there are other similarly altered animals. As these newly created alpha predators tear across North America, destroying everything in their path, Okoye teams with a discredited genetic engineer to secure an antidote, fighting his way through an ever-changing battlefield, not only to halt a global catastrophe but also to save the fearsome creature who was once his friend.

Rampage (Blu-ray) 

Rampage 4K (Blu-ray)
Temporary cover art 

Steelbook: Best Buy - $29.99

Rampage 4K (Blu-ray) 

Disobedience: Amazon - $22.99

A woman returns to her Orthodox Jewish home after the death of her rabbi father and stirs up controversy when she shows an interest in an old childhood friend.

Disobedience (Blu-ray) 

I Feel Pretty: Amazon - $19.99

A head injury causes a woman to develop an extraordinary amount of confidence and believes she's drop-dead gorgeous.

I Feel Pretty (Blu-ray) 

Traffik: Amazon - $19..99

A couple off for a romantic weekend in the mountains are accosted by a bike gang. Alone in the mountains, Brea and John must defend themselves against the gang, who will stop at nothing to protect their secrets.

Traffik (Blu-ray) 

Isle of Dogs: Amazon - $19.99

When, by executive decree, all the canine pets of Megasaki City are exiled to a vast garbage-dump called Trash Island, 12-year-old Atari sets off alone in a miniature Junior-Turbo Prop and flies across the river in search of his bodyguard-dog, Spots. There, with the assistance of a pack of newly-found mongrel friends, he begins an epic journey that will decide the fate and future of the entire Prefecture.

Isle of Dogs (Blu-ray) 

  -The Impostor  

Monday, July 16, 2018

Screenings in the Bay (Monday to Friday): Unfriended 2: Dark Web, Sleaze Apocalypse, The Sentinel

This is the first well rounded week of movies we've had in weeks and I'm excited about it!
We start off light-hearted, with Balboa's AniMonday screening of Spirited Away. I love the creatures in this family friendly fantasy movie. From there, things get darker as Terror Tuesday presents The Sentinel at the Alamo Drafthouse. I've actually never seen this one, so I'm very excited! Every still I've ever seen from this film looks insane.

Wednesday is the busiest day surprisingly! Not only is Rewind Wednesday happening at the Balboa, and Weird Wednesday at the Alamo Drafthouse, it's also the Sleaze Apocalypse at the Roxie Theatre! This is a one night event, curated and hosted by Joel Shepard, who was the guest on the Overlook Hour a couple weeks ago. 

And the cherry on top is one that I've been waiting for for months... Unfriended 2: Dark Web! Several of the Overlook's creatures were lucky enough to check this one out at an advanced screening last week and, well.. we recommend it! 

Opening This Week

Unfriended 2: Dark Web (2018)
Early Screenings Thursday 19th (1hr 28min)
Opens Friday 20th
Horror (Rotten Tomatoes)
When a 20-something finds a cache of hidden files on his new laptop, he and his friends are unwittingly thrust into the depths of the dark web. They soon discover someone has been watching their every move and will go to unimaginable lengths to protect the dark web.

Terror Tuesday

Tuesday 17th @ 10pm (1hr 32min)
Drama/ Horror/ Suspense (Rotten Tomatoes)
In the wake of such Satanic-themed thrillers as Rosemary's Baby, The Exorcist and The Omen comes The Sentinel. When New York fashion model (Cristina Raines) splits with her fiance (Chris Sarandon) and moves into an old brownstone, she soon discovers she has more than she bargained for in the lease. As luck would have it, a mysterious blind priest (John Carradine) who lives upstairs happens to be guarding the doorway to Hell, and she has been chosen as his replacement. Incidentally, when the door is finally opened, out spills an assortment of deformed humans whom director Michael Winner hand-picked from hospital wards and circus sideshows.

Weird Wednesday

Wednesday 18th @ 10:15pm (1 hr 29min)
Horror/ Western (IMDB)
Virginia City, NV, is home to the Comstock Lode, a mine that struck big in the latter half of the 19th century. One hundred years later and the city looks very much the same, thanks to the efforts of Mayor Charles Silverdale (Stuart Lancaster), who has bought up most of the property and restored the town to its historical state. When a representative for an Eastern mining concern (Christopher Brooks) comes around trying to buy up shares in the Comstock, Silverdale and his henchmen must go to some extreme lengths to discredit him, framing him as a dog-killer and even attempting a secret lynching. Meanwhile, anthropology professor Dr. Cyrus Clemens (Kerrigan E. Prescott) and a local sheep rancher named Eddie (Richard Marion) have made an astonishing discovery: One of Eddie's flock has given birth to a mutated embryo that could prove a cellular realignment theory that the doctor has been working on in his secret laboratory.

Balboa Theatre


Monday 16th @ 7:30pm (2hrs 5min)
Fantasy/ Mystery (Google)
In this animated feature by noted Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki, 10-year-old Chihiro (Rumi Hiiragi) and her parents (Takashi Naitô, Yasuko Sawaguchi) stumble upon a seemingly abandoned amusement park. After her mother and father are turned into giant pigs, Chihiro meets the mysterious Haku (Miyu Irino), who explains that the park is a resort for supernatural beings who need a break from their time spent in the earthly realm, and that she must work there to free herself and her parents.

Rewind Wednesday

Wednesday 18th @ 7:30pm (1hr 34min)
Comedy/ Music (IMDB)
Originally a skit on "Saturday Night Live" during the late '80s and early '90s, "Wayne's World" is about two teenage dudes who host a public access TV show, which is mainly about rock, babes and people who live in the area. One day Wayne and Garth go to a rock concert, and Wayne falls in love with a bass guitarist named Cassandra Wong. Wayne spends the rest of the movie trying to get Casandra to fall in love with him. He also struggles with a network executive who wants to buy the rights to his show.

Screened in VHS

Wednesday 18th @ 7pm (1hr 15min)

They don’t exist anymore, but there used to be disreputable movie theaters in all major cities that showed double and triple features of low-budget genre films. These theaters could be spooky and intense places, catering mostly to emotionally damaged solitary men. Strange things happened in these decrepit, dark spaces, which served as anarchic dream palaces for freaks of all stripes. Curator Joel Shepard has been collecting grindhouse horror, softcore sex, and action movie trailers from the 70s and early 80s for decades. Many of these films could never be made today. Tonight he presents a rollicking and sometimes disturbing program of the best of the best.
All killer, no filler, and everything on real celluloid 35mm film!

Curated and hosted by Joel Sheppard

Double Feature

Thursday 19th @ 7pm (1hr 36min)
Drama/ Horror/ Sci-Fi (IMDB)
Considered fairly gruesome in its day, the original 1958 The Fly looks like Mister Rogers' Neighborhood compared to this 1986 remake. Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis star as Seth Brundle, a self-involved research scientist, and Veronica Quaife, a science-magazine reporter. Inviting Veronica to his lab, Seth prepares to demonstrate his "telepod," which can theoretically transfer matter through space. As they grow closer over the next few weeks, she inadvertently goads Seth into experimenting with human beings rather than inanimate objects. Seth himself enters the telepod, preparing to transmit himself through the ether -- but he doesn't know that he is sharing the telepod with a tiny housefly.


Thursday 19th @ ~9pm (1hr 40min)
Comedy/ Musical/ Sci-Fi (Rotten Tomatoes)
In this madcap comedy, Geena Davis plays Valerie, a manicurist living in the valley with her cold fiancé, Dr. Ted Gallagher (Charles Rocket). At the Curl Up and Dye beauty salon where she works, Valerie enlists the help of her boss, Candy Pink (Julie Brown), for some style advice to try and win back Ted's affections. After undergoing a brand-new hairstyle, Valerie learns that Ted is having an affair and she kicks him out of the house. Soon, while lounging around in her bikini, a spaceship from the planet Jhazzalan crash-lands in her swimming pool. Curious, Valerie befriends the ship's inhabitants -- three horny aliens covered in fur named Mac (Jeff Goldblum), Whiploc (Jim Carrey), and Zeebo (Damon Wayans). Introducing her new friends to Candy, the aliens get a shave and a total makeover transformation into hot, available dates. They all go out dancing at L.A. nightclubs and party.

Both screened in 35mm


Sunday, July 15, 2018

Overlooked Crowd Funding: Joshua Cleave's The Rage 2

The very first thing that the adventurous audience attending the Unnamed Footage Festival saw was science gone wrong in the fast paced short The Rage. Following the point of view of a head mounted GoPro, The Rage was nearly ten full minutes of chaos, culminating in an uncertain end. But now, the story continues in...


Written, produced, and directed by Joshua Cleave, this will be a direct continuation of part one, and it has some high goals to reach. The film's fearless leader wants to raise £4,000 (about $5,300) to make the "biggest, bloodiest, 1st person horror film ever to come out of the United Kingdom". I'm in!

In order to get this sequel off the ground, Joshua has set up an Indiegogo campaign with some pretty cool perks. 

For 20 GPD (about 26 bucks) the digital download of The Rage 2 is all yours. But if you're willing to spend a bit more, the download will also come with signed postcards with art from both the first and second movie. But the perk I have my eye on is the one that's 100 GPD (around $132 according to Google conversion) because it comes with both the film, and signed postcards but it also includes props from the movie. And I can't help but giggle at the thought of prosthetic limbs and crazy stuff coming shipping to me from the other side of the planet. 

Check out what else is available at the Indiegogo campaign page!

You can also get updates on the film Facebook and Twitter!


We first found out about Joshua Cleave's The Rage from our extended horror family in the UK, the Liverpool Horror Club and have since gotten to know the movie and the man behind it very well. He played a big part in getting the word out about the Unnamed Footage Festival, and has kept in contact since. And when he told us about the ambitious sequel he was working to being into the world, we had to hear more. So Joshua came onto episode 98 of the Overlook Hour to spill behind the scenes secrets about The Rage and tease the upcoming The Rage 2.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Screenings in the Bay (Friday to Sunday): Song of Solomon, The Devil's Doorway, Santo vs. the Evil Brain


It's like the unofficial non-Halloween horror celebration where everyone dawns their Jason Voorhees shirts and smiles. It's also the day that Song of Solomon enjoys its L.A. premiere at the Downtown Independent! Get the necessary details on the event page on Facebook.

But if you're bound to the Northern bay area for the weekend, there are still several titles of note that you should check out. the Castro Theatre will be presenting a creepy kids double feature tonight, and following it up with a fantasy duo on Sunday. The New Parkway is showing one of the better Friday the 13th's, the Final Chapter, and the Roxie teamed up with CineMas to present Santo vs. the Evil Brain, with a special guest, this Saturday!

And if you're in a shut in kind of mood, there are a couple of titles on VOD that are not to be missed! 

Creepy Kids Double Feature

The Bad Seed (1956)
Friday 13th @ 7pm (2hrs 9min)
Crime/ Drama/ Horror (IMDB)
Young Patty McCormack received an Oscar nomination for her performance as a murderous child in this chilling dramatic horror classic. Shocking at the time of its release in 1956, The Bad Seed remains unsettling to this day as a single mother discovers that within her seemingly angelic daughter beats the heart of a cold-blooded serial murderer.


The Omen (1976)
Friday 13th @ 9:20pm (1hr 51min)
Horror (IMDB)
The young son of an American diplomat and his wife, living in London, turns out to be marked with the sign of Satan, the infamous "666". It soon becomes apparent that he could be the Anti-Christ incarnate and possesses the evil powers to stop anyone who stands in his way.

Double Feature

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954)
Sunday 15th @ 1:30pm (2hrs 7min)
Adventure/ Drama/ Family (IMDB)
This 1954 Disney version of Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea represented the studio's costliest and most elaborate American-filmed effort to date. Kirk Douglas plays a trouble-shooting 19th century seaman, trying to discover why so many whaling ships have been disappearing of late. Teaming with scientist Paul Lukas and diver Peter Lorre, Douglas sets sail to investigate--and is promptly captured by the megalomaniac Captain Nemo (James Mason), who skippers a lavish, scientifically advanced submarine. The film's special effects, including a giant squid, were impressive enough in 1954 to win an Academy Award.


Jason and the Argonauts (1963)
Sunday 15th @ 3:50pm (1hr 44min)
Adventure/ Family/ Fantasy (IMDB)
The legendary Greek hero leads a team of intrepid adventurers in a perilous quest for the legendary Golden Fleece. Jason has been prophesied to take the throne of Thessaly. When he saves Pelias from drowning, but does not recognize him as the man who had earlier killed his father, Pelias tells Jason to travel to Colchis to find the Golden Fleece. Jason follows his advice and assembles a sailing crew of the finest men in Greece, including Hercules. They are under the protection of Hera, queen of the gods. Their voyage is replete with battles against harpies, a giant bronze Talos, a hydra, and an animated skeleton army.

Friday 13th @ 10pm (1hr 31min)
Slasher/ Thriller (Google)
A carefree lakeside vacation is interrupted by the re-emergence of killer Jason Voorhees (Ted White). After he escapes from a morgue, leaving bodies in his wake, Jason travels to Camp Crystal Lake where a group of friends is staying. The teens meet some locals: Tommy (Corey Feldman) and Trish (Kimberly Beck), as well as secretive hiker Rob (Erich Anderson). As the group of teenagers engages in drunken debauchery, their numbers begin to dwindle, and pieces of the past resurface.

Saturday 14th @ 7pm (1hr 10min)
Adventure/ Action/ Sci-Fi (IMDB)
This Cuban-Mexican co-production marked the feature-film debut of the beloved masked wrestler Santo (Rodolfo Guzman Huerta), who would continue to battle monsters, aliens, and evildoers of all stripes in dozens of films over more than two decades. Here, Santo and El Incognito (co-writer Fernando Oses) foil the plot of a mad scientist to create a zombie army by zapping his innocent victims with electric shocks. Joaquin Cordero and Norma Suarez got top billing in this film co-written by wrestler Enrique J. Zambrano, who also directed the fight sequences and plays a small role. Santo returned in the same year's Santo contra Hombres Infernales.

Filmmaker/archivist, and granddaughter of the film’s producer Jorge Garcia Besné, Viviana Garcia Besné IN PERSON for post-screening Q&A to discuss her journey to restore the film, moderated by Peter Conheim/Cinema Preservation Alliance.


Limited Theatres/VOD Friday 13th (1hr 16min)
Horror (IMDB)
In the fall of 1960, Father Thomas Riley and Father John Thornton were sent by the Vatican to investigate a miraculous event in an Irish home for 'fallen women', only to uncover something much more horrific.

Limited Theatres/VOD Friday 13th (1hr 33min)
Art House/ International/ Drama/ Horror (Rotten Tomatoes)
After waking up in an apartment the night after a raging party, Sam comes face to face with his new reality: an army of zombies have invaded the streets of Paris and he is one of the lone survivors. Petrified with fear, he barricades himself inside the building to survive. He wonders how long can he last in silence and solitude, and the answer comes when he learns that he's not all alone after all.


The Overlook Theatre Reviews: The First Purge

6 of 6 viewers "Liked" "First Purge" (2018, USA)
Creature reviews have been minimally altered in an attempt to maintain their voice:

The Berkeley Blazer - "The Purge films have always come across to me like the marketing team for 7-11 decided to make a politically relevant horror movie i.e. too dumb to take seriously, too self-serious to enjoy, as well as expressing a neck-beard nihilistic take on human nature. Before buying a ticket, I was torn between the fun of reviewing a film with the Overlook crew and financially supporting cultural poison. The First Purge (FP) reverses everything I hated about this franchise, and in the process gives us an diverting (if lesser) tonal blend of They Live and The Wire.  FP eschews neckbesrdism and opts for a relatively optimistic view of the underclass. It unsubtly employs Trumpism and alt-right culture as the unambiguous antagonist, and in doing so subverts the series trademark Manichaeist populism into a conflict that is actually palatable to take sides in.  Y’lan Noel (from HBOs Insecure) and Lex Scott Davis give us compelling co-protagonists who’s survival we have a stake in.  Refreshingly, all the protagonists are people of color who have distinct personalities, while still adhering to fun sense of bravura (for instance, the wild card character is a slender-manic addict named Skeletor who stalks the streets with Loganesque syringes and facial scar tattoos). So why only a 3.5? It’s simply not as good or memorable as the above-mentioned titles.  Lorde B. and I were discussing how at one point the film loses its voice and feel like a different (albeit still fun) movie. Diverting yet forgettable, FP  will hopefully be a sign of what’s to come for this franchise." - 3.5 Stars

Lord Battle - "Who knew that The First Purge would be my clear favorite of the franchise? Or that the Staten Island projects would house a microcosm that I would later compare to David Simon's The Wire, both in approach and in use of characters? And I know no one expected that halfway through the film we'd hit a pop-culture/taboo climax that would break the film and send our Omar Little, re-dubbed Skeletor, armed like wolverine, flourishing like Freddy into the shadows and focus solely on Trump America being taken down one Rammstein singer at a time, by John Mclane using gunkata... The First Purge was fun until it wasn't and WTF is a Purge party anyway?" - 3.5 Stars

Math Mage - "I wanted the evil guy to say (instead of "we have a situation") "we have a Mclane". I would expect professional evil minions to have a protocol for this likely currance in the fantasy world of the Purge. I say fantasy world because mute ninja sidekicks, gunkata and bombproof mattresses (Slowest. Explosion. Ever.) are not part of any sensible reality. Gun drones and video contacts maybe, but C4 specifically doesn't explode when shot. The urban fantasy of the Purge always got a pass from me since they only explain its origins in the broadest terms, now forced to get specific (by painting themselves into a corner) the film suffers from trying to impose a rational explanation of an inherently ridiculous premise. The ridiculousness also gets in the way of the movie trying to say something. Yes, the system encourages poor people to kill each other but even if it does do so because of a secret cabal of racists, those racists gain nothing by making it more explicit. The NFFA (... Huh, they didn't have an acronym before...) claims that they tried other options but plainly the Purge was their goal the whole time (if the viral human sacrifice theory in the 3 past movies is still canon). Also I thought the New Founding Fathers were a military cosplay based on the first 3 merging. Other issues, a movie about racism doesn't mention race even once (not even officially, a comment about the invaders being "demographically unrepresentative" would have worked). A franchise where the US military has been explicit enemy twice goes out of its way to say the invaders are foreign mercenaries [Why do you feel it's important to say that?]. Our heroic noble gangster has no arguments (not even bad ones) when his ex calls him out for being a gangster. No one points out the obvious flaws in the purge system (to be fair the filmmakers don't seem to be aware of them). Despite my complaints I enjoyed the film, especially the third act where it goes totally DIE HARD (he even wears a wife beater to remove all doubt), though the curiously optimistic ending remains at odds with the world of the sequels (I expected the primary cast to be killed and a supporting character credited with their murder)." - 3.5 Stars

The Impostor - "I've always had a love/ hate relationship with the Purge series. The Purge (2013) started it all, the premise alone intrigued me but I realized it was underwhelming considering there's so much that can happen but it took place in a home with one family. A year later the sequel subtitled Anarchy gave us a bit more of what I expected from the original and I enjoyed it probably the most of the series. 2016 gave us Election Year and I knew this series has run its course. The First Purge takes us back to how it all began and I actually enjoyed it. It's more of a real life horror than anything, with everything happening in society at the moment. There were a few stand out characters I was rooting for and hoping made it out of this event. I will say the film felt a bit uneven as it progressed, almost like it lost its vision. The first part of the film set up and rushed an action packed ending. One highlight for me was Skeletor. He creeped me out a bit and was insanely blood thirsty, which meant he's my kinda slasher for sure! Overall good prequel in a decent franchise. It kept me more entertained than I thought it would." - 3 Stars

Wandering Panda - "Finally!!! I've always said that the Purge film series has a great idea but poor execution, but The First Purge is leaps above its predecessor. The characters are more fleshed out and the choice of Staten Island, NY is perfect for the chaos. The racial tension is apparent but not in your face about it. My only negative is that I question Dmitri's abilities in combat, it got a little silly for me and broke my immersion. But all in all The first Purge is a step in the right direction. - 4 Stars

Huntress - "Although it was flawed and had several obnoxious scenes, this was easily my favorite of the Purge movies that I've seen (which is all but the second one). This was also the first time I realized how annoying the lack of division between church and state was, especially since they include a prayer in the message that initiates the Purge. I'd think that if you were trying to get people to partake in government-sanctioned chaos, religion would be the last thing you should incite. This movie made the strange decision to portray the low-income population of Staten Island as a close knit community, where the only violence is barely worse than college hazing. Then there's the drug kingpin/community basketball coach character we're supposed to believe is the same boy-next-door that he was in childhood and that he doesn't react a certain way when his ex-girlfriend physically punks him and his security guard out... I admit that most of my problems with The First Purge (as well as its predecessors) are in the writing and I cannot think of a scenario where I would be entirely happy with any of these movies. But I also will say that this was the most enjoyable, especially after Election Year, which I can't even say the name of without groaning. I particularly liked the glowing contact lenses that teased POV cinema and gave everyone participating in Purge Night an inhuman silhouette. This prequel wasn't as politically preachy as Election Year but is still inherently riddled with the kind of propaganda I don't want in my horror movies." - 3 Stars

The Overlook Theatre Final Rating*
(Below is for after you've seen the film)

Last year I ended up complaining about A24's It Comes At Night. The trailer promised horror but I walked out of the theater thinking political. I saw a post-apocalyptic film lacking monsters (other than the human kind) and because of the atmosphere of Trump dread in the bay area, I ended up projecting a political meaning onto the film (although I was not alone).
Why does any of this matter? Because I had a lot of fun at The First Purge screening. The Purge franchise always delivers on excellent lobby conversation! It seems absurd, but no matter how good, bad, or disinterested the creatures are before/after the film, everyone still talks about how they would have changed the movie. I don't mean as far as casting or directing, but pure story/character conversations. The Purge has such a large idea at its core that it's either too narrow a view (like the first film), to fantastical (the second), to political (the third), or disjointed (the 4th) to not discuss what we would have changed. It couldn't be a more interesting look at how friends would mold/construct a story with a huge sandbox premise like the Purge.
Next time another Purge film comes out, or you're bored on a Saturday night. Grab a fellow movie monster and watch a Purge film. Then do what we do here at the Overlook every week and discuss what you did/didn't like and really dissect the film. We shouldn't do this with only films we like. Understanding what we don't like about cinema/storytelling in general is the only way we grow.

- Lord Battle

The Overlook Theatre materialized at Century Theatres for a screening on 7/5/2018
*Based on the star ratings turned in by character reviewers, others viewed and got to "Dislike" or "Like" but that does not affect the rating.