MMT Quick Review of ‘HAPPY DEATH DAY’ by contributor Samantha Hollins

The title Happy Death Day had me intrigued the moment my eyes peeked its existence on social media. After viewing the trailer with 50 Cent’s song “In Da Club” as the under score, I wasn’t sure if this film would scare the crap out of me or make me want to meet up with the girls for a chick-flick night out on the town. I started to wonder, “Why am I bobbing my head when I should be feeling goosebumps?” And then – yes – it happened! I started feeling the stain of intensity smeared on the final moments of the teaser. That made me more curious of what was to come. Okay, I was ready to go see this celebration of the Grim Reaper’s calling.

Deja vu…what, where and who is the mystery of this romantic-comedy-blood commemoration. Waking up to a self-centered day, that keeps going around and around and gets tangled up amidst her birthday, is college student Tree (Jessica Rothe).

The essence of the characters almost reminded me of the brat-pack films in the 80’s with a terrorizing turn of events. The unraveling of self-evaluation stabs the heart of this story with tender, yet quirky, hell-raising moments. The stereotypical flare through the iris of Tree’s privileged way of life is put to the test as she relives her flaws. It’s a non-stop deadly haze until her state of mind can truly wake up.

Emmy award-winning composer Bear McCreary (best known for his work on Battlestar Galactica, Outlander and The Walking Dead) created many layers of sound to accompany each shifting scene of emotion. I could feel the dark side of the score skulking under my skin before I could hear its eerie whisper whenever the villain ensued his prey.

If you need a little humor to take the edge off the scare factor, then this film will tickle your mind to ease as you prepare for the slasher extravaganza. Cheesy thrills turn into clever chills, reminiscent of a mixture of Harold Ramis’ classic film “Ground Hog Day” (starring Bill Murray) bleeding into the cult favorite horror film franchise “Scream” (directed by Wes Craven). These two genres crawling together will keep you wondering what mood will strike you next.

Blumhouse Productions has been releasing a vast array of thought-provoking horror films this year (including the block buster “Get Out“), fulfilling every scary movie lover’s taste. “Happy Death Day” (directed by Christopher Beau Landon) is the gift this fall that is now playing at a theater near you.

Samantha Hollins, aka Ghetto SongBird, is a multi-talented singer/songwriter, guitarist, poet/writer, photographer and all around creative soul, who passionately enjoys sharing her positive artistic energy and harmonic vibes. You can follow her, and get additional information about her next tour date, on her Facebook page here; and check out her reviews of Annabelle: CreationThe Beguiled, and The Girl With All The Gifts right here on MMT!

 

MMT Quick Review: BLAIR WITCH by guest contributor Samantha Hollins

Blair Witch

Sticks and stones may break your bones but the return of Blair Witch will continue to lurk you. Chandeliers of wooden havoc are now hanging over the disappearance of Heather Donahue once again. The curiosity of her brother James (James Allen McCune), who was only four years old when she unfathomably perished, has been awakened. 17 years later a lost video tape seems to summon him and a small group of friends into the same Black Hills Forest in Burkittsville, Maryland that his sister and her film student friends wandered into to make a movie about the tale of Blair Witch. What he discovers gives him a slither of hope on her whereabouts. Could she really still be out there or is it the Blair Witch myth alluring his judgement on a deep rooted search?

With the expanding of technology since the release of “The Blair Witch Project” in 1999, that engaging lens is an upgraded eye seeking to unveil a mystery. The newly found footage binds the legacy of this witch hunt together ten-fold. The presence of the camera has always been like a leading character creeping through each scene allowing us to hike along and peek into the unknown.

Director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett (known for thrillers such as You’re Next, V/H/S and The Guest to name a few) stirred just enough of the documentary style that is synonymous with this franchise (created by Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick), brewing a bigger budget into a more refined appearance. They wanted to stay as true in linking “Blair Witch” with the original. The chase of the evocative shadows and sound effects is still the curse put on such a tense spine-chilling plot.

It was a potent move to cast rising stars who are not yet Hollywood elite. It conjured the campy experience of an 80’s horror film with magnetic raw performances. Every second of witty humor could mutate into the most spellbound terror that jumps out of the dark and grabs you. It didn’t need any blockbuster perks, because the name “Blair Witch” already has the magic to draw people in based solely on its pop culture phenomenon. It is the same fascination that spawned many film makers to follow this distinct ground breaking formula (including the “Paranormal” trilogies). The interest in knowing if this story is real or fabricated still lingers because legend has it that the Blair Witch occult was once a real haunting that could easily make you disappear.

What started off as a top secret in the making is now 1 hour and 29 minutes of psychological horror produced by Lionsgate simply entitled “Blair Witch”.  It was released September 16th 2016 and is now playing in theaters nationwide.

Samantha HollinsSamantha Hollins, aka Ghetto SongBird, is a multi-talented singer/songwriter, guitarist, poet/writer, photographer and all around creative soul, who passionately enjoys sharing her positive artistic energy and harmonic vibes. You can follow her, and get additional information about her next tour date, on her Facebook page here.