Movie Review: Sunset

Director: Jamison M. LoCascio
Writers; Adam Ambrosio, Jamison M. LoCascio
Stars: Austin Pendleton, Suzette GunnJuri, Henley-Cohn
Rated: 3 Stars (6 stars on IMDB)
Review by: Astilbe

A diverse group of people grapple with the imminent probability of a nuclear strike on the east coast.

What would you do differently if you thought your life might be in danger?

Some of my favorite scenes were the ones that showed how complex relationships can be. For example, an offhand remark can really sting even if the person saying it was trying to be funny, and someone’s childhood experiences can still affect them decades later. The director and writers did a good job of exploring these topics in ways that also tied into the main storyline even when I didn’t originally think there would be much of a connection between them at all.

I would have liked to see more character development in this film, especially when it came to their pasts and how they all met. There were a few scenes that lightly touched on this subject, but I was still left with many questions about why certain characters behaved the way that they did. For example, Chris’ rough childhood seemed like it could have provided a lot of fodder for both the troubled relationship he had with alcohol that was obvious from the very first scene to how he ended up living with Henry and Patricia as their surrogate child.

The dialogue was fast-paced and topical. It was especially interesting to see how everyone reacted to the possibility of their neighbourhood being attacked by a nuclear weapon. Planning an evacuation is more complicated than it may seem, especially for people who are physically disabled or have other things going on in their lives that make it difficult to travel. The opening scene did a particularly good job of using dialogue to introduce everyone and share hints about what they were openly, or sometimes quietly, struggling with in their lives before the public service announcements began.

Sunset was a thought-provoking story.

Movie Review: Know Fear

Know Fear
Director: Jamison M. LoCascio
Writers: Adam Ambrosio & Jamison M. LoCascio
Starring: David Alan Basche, Amy Carlson and Mallory Bechtel
Rated: 5 Stars (10 stars on IMDB)
Review by: Astilbe

After the possession of his wife, Donald Capel and his family activate a dangerous ritual in a book used to identify and banish demons, a ritual forcing each member of the family to communicate with the demon in their own unique way: to see it, hear it, or speak to it.

If you’ve ever wondered what weird or even terrifying things the previous owners of a house might have gotten up to, this might be right up your alley.

I enjoyed the fast, plot-based storyline. All of the characters were given just enough time to introduce themselves to the audience before mysterious things began happening. The quick pace also helped to explain why the characters remained in a house that was possessed by such a dangerous entity. They simply didn’t have the time to consider other options, especially once things really began to escalate.

One of the many reasons why I chose a perfect rating for this film had to do with how it handled the demon. It left no room for doubt about just how malicious this creature was or how much peril all of the characters were in while it still remained in our world. There were a few scenes I had to watch out of the corner of my eye because of how much they made me shudder. That’s exactly what I love to see in the horror genre, and I only wish I could go into much more detail about it without giving away spoilers!

The ending couldn’t have been better. Not only did it tie all of the loose strings left over from earlier scenes together nicely, it made me go back to some earlier scenes and think carefully about how they were shared with the audience. Yes, many of the twists and turns were tropes that most fans of this genre would expect to see, but they were combined in ways that made them feel fresh again. It takes a lot of hard work to pull something like that off, and I tip my cap to the cast and crew for doing so well with it.

For readers who are sensitive to blood or gore, there were a few scenes that included both of them. I liked the fact that most of the focus was placed on the demon itself, but the storyline did need those elements to thrive.

Know Fear was deliciously scary.