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Friday, January 13th, 2012 | Author: Casey Criswell

Every now and then, I stumble across a book in the most unlikely of ways. If you’re a listener of the Bloody Good Horror podcast, you’ve probably heard us mention that we mess about on TheChive while recording. It’s a photo blog if you’re not familiar, filled with everything from goofy pictures to cool HD stuff and everywhere in between. On one such day while browsing through a post, I saw the cover posted there to the left (I think, it’s all fuzzy now) and the word ‘horror’ and it caught my attention. Having never had a photo blog recommend a book to me, it looked interesting, so I threw it on the to read pile.

Back when I was first introduced to Ania Ahlborn, I discovered her twitter account and being a want-to-be self published author myself, I followed. You see, Ms. Ahlborn has had quite a bit of sales success with Seed. In fact, it was number one on Amazon’s horror charts for a bit. And she published it all herself. Not too shabby!

Jump ahead many months later, sitting on the computer during that sleepy time between Christmas and New Years. I still hadn’t gotten around to buying a copy of Seed but I just happened to notice that the author was giving away copies of the book for three days on Twitter. Seeing as I’d been wanting to check it out, I jumped at the chance and dug in right away. Two days later, I was done with the book, left well entertained and here we are. Since I don’t have this one slated for a Dad and his Weird Friends Episode as of yet, I’ll fill you in here.

From Amazon:

In the vine-twisted swamps of Louisiana, the shadows have teeth. Jack Winter has spent his entire life running from something no one else can see. His childhood is his darkest secret, but after a near fatal accident along a deserted road, the darkness he was sure he’d escaped rears its ugly head… and smiles. But this time, he isn’t the only one who sees the soulless eyes of his past. This time, his six-year-old daughter Charlie leans into his ear and whispers: “Daddy, I saw it too.” And then she begins to change. Faced with reliving the nightmares of his childhood, Jack watches his daughter spiral into the shadows that had nearly consumed him twenty years before. But Charlie isn’t the only one who’s changing. Jack never outran the darkness. It’s been with him all along. And it’s hungrier than ever.

As a good story should, the first thing to jump out at you in Ahlborn’s “Seed” is a family of well crafted characters. Jack Winter, a family man doing his best to support his family. Sure, he’s not perfect. He doesn’t need to be though, because he’s a good dad and a good husband. Then there’s Aimee. Written well to fit her back story of a formerly well to do southern daughter throwing off her families money for love and a family of her own. Abby, the older sister is a good kid, a good student and a happy older sister. Then, there’s Charlie. Charlie’s cute and precocious, she’s funny and adorable and quite obviously, the apple of her father’s eye.

Easily identifiable and more importantly, relatable, the Winters are any happy American family. They work hard, live happily with what little they have, and simply enjoy being together; A cast of characters that could easily be you or I. Since we can relate to these characters so well, when the darkness shows up, it’s not so much the things that scuttle about in the shadows that make our skin crawl in “Seed”, but the aftermath and the effect that that shadow has on the Winters as a whole. For fear of spoilers, I won’t go into specifics.

Accompanying all of this is an easy flowing writing style that makes for a quick read. I have problems when books hit a lull and the story’s pace slows to a crawl. Here, I never encountered such problems. This isn’t a story where there is constant carnage around every turn; in fact, it’s a bit of a pot boiler as you get to know the family and the gradual problems they have to face. Never does this get bogged down to where the reading feels like a chore. The landscapes and scenery are well spelled out, though not integral to the story. There are always more details to latch on to that makes the world of Jack Winters, past and present, feel real.

As you can see, I thought quite highly of “Seed”. I knocked this out in two short days and resulted in at least one late night turning pages. I didn’t come across any problems between the covers of “Seed”; there are no pot holes to speak of and the emotional weight that comes as the story unfolds is what we’re truly here to read and it works well. If there’s anything I would have liked to have seen different, those items would be minor and inconsequential to the book as a whole. For instance, I enjoyed the character of Jack’s friend Reagan who was brought in a few times. Where I thought he might be contributing something significant to the tale later on, he serves as a minor sounding board that sort of disappears. Again, nothing at all that harms the story; just a character I thought would have turned into something more significant. We hear a lot of mention of Aimee’s father but never really meet him, though her mother was bad enough. As you can see, any issues I had with “Seed” were minor and had only to do with small characters!

To wrap up, “Seed” is a fine foray into horror for Ania Ahlborn. Keep in mind, this is Ahlborn’s first novel AND it’s self published. Had I not known that going in, I’d have never known. It’s fully edited, well formatted and all together a professional and finished book. It has a lot of style and is well written and left me feeling positive that I’ll be looking for more from her in the future. Even more importantly…I’ll be expecting more from her in the future. I feel pretty certain that she’s going to have some more good horror novels coming for us that are only going to get better as she goes. With “Seed”, we get a warm look at a family and a punch to the gut as we watch them go through their own personal little hell. In the end, you can feel good knowing that Ahlborn doesn’t pull that punch either; for horror fans, you’ll be happy with where this journey goes.

If this sounds up your alley, you can purchase “Seed” for a mere $2.99 at Amazon.com For the time being, the book is available exclusively on the Kindle through Amazon. If you take a glance at Ania’s blog however you’ll see thatboth “Seed” and Ms. Ahlborn’s next novel “The Neighbors” have been picked up by Amazon’s new publishing houses, so print versions will be coming soon!

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Thursday, October 20th, 2011 | Author: Casey Criswell

I’ve been missing from this dusty little home here, but it’s been for good reason. There’s been a lot of podcast construction going on in the back ground! If you haven’t tuned in yet, the first episode of the 1951 Down Place podcast was released! Judging from the feed back, people loved it! Episode 2 is in the can now, so be watching for that to be released at the end of October!

But now for the NEW news! In the next two weeks or so, I’ll be releasing another all new podcast called the “Dad and his Weird Friends” podcast! While the title doesn’t reflect the subject matter, it does reflect the cast! Every other week, I (being Dad) will be sitting down with a different friend (being the Weird Friends) and we’re going to talk books. Science fiction books. Horror books. Comic books. Fantasy books. Big books, little books, e-books, paper books! I’m a bit of a junkie as it comes to reading and I haven’t found a book podcast that fits my wants for the drive to work….so myself and my Weird friends are going to remedy that.

The subject matter will vary widely, as will my guests! Every other week I’ll throw in some book news, in depth discussion on a new book and some thought provoking questions ripped from the pages of speculative fiction. You can look forward to friends from other well known podcasts such as Night of the Living Podcast, the Bloody Good Horror Podcast, Damaged Hearing and a whole lot more!

The first episode will be recording soon as I sit down with Mark Newell, my cohort from Bloody Good Horror and talk about Ernest Cline’s “Ready Player One”!

Be sure to check back here at Cinema Fromage often for updates as I will be announcing the official feed address here at the site! You can also follow the new Twitter account Dadsweirdfriend, shoot as email at dadsweirdfriends@gmail.com or leave us a voice mail at (585)-209-3473.

Most importantly, we’ve launched the Dad and his Weird Friends discussion group at Goodreads.com! This will be the place to discuss all of the books mentioned on the show, talk about genre books in general and ultimately relish in your nerdy book loving splendor! So be sure to head over to Goodreads.com and join the group!

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Wednesday, March 09th, 2011 | Author: Casey Criswell



Mondo Sasquatch

“I Have Always Wondered What Bigfoot Meat Tastes Like: An Introduction” by Louis Fowler

“Arlo Felling Exists” by Richard Tiernan

“Bigfoot and the Bone Face Murders” by Michael May

“Bigfoot Must Die” by Frankie Marino

“From Hell’s Heart” by Desmond Reddick

“Incident at Crater Lake” by Casey Criswell

“Roadside Attraction” by Matthew P. Mayo

“Sacrifice” by Shawn Gilbreath

“Sasquatch Vs. El Chupacabra” by Douglas Waltz

“Strike” by Michael D Winkle

“The Ballad of the Skunk Ape” by Jarret Keene

“The Encounter” by Mike White

“The Tale of Peter Rabbit and the Sasquatch” by Beatrix Potter and Rod Lott

“The Tragic Hazing of Bryan Igfoot” by Eric Dimbleby

“Theodore Roosevelt and the Great American Anthropoid” by Bill Adcock


You ever get that feeling that something’s watching you while you’re walking through the woods? You shook off the cold chill that ran down your spine, passing the moment off as simple heebie jeebies and nothing more?

Well guess what. You were wrong.

The Sasquatch is real.

Myself and my two cohorts Louis Fowler and Rod Lott are thrilled to announce that this long awaited collection of Sasquatch Short Fiction is nearing completion!

Above you will see our awesome book cover designed by artist Jim Rugg whom you may recognize from such comics as Dark Horse’s The Guild and DC’s The Plain Janes! Needless to say, it’s pretty fantastic!

We are also excited to announce to the public the fifteen stories that will be making up the pages of “Mondo Sasquatch”! You might notice my own story in there, “Incident at Crater Lake” which I’m really excited about! “Incident” is a 60 page novella and turned out well, if I do say so myself! (And I do!)

We are working on mid-may release for “Mondo Sasquatch” as we put on the final editing touches! Be sure to stay tuned for more info such as official release dates, the official website and more. At this time, I can tell you that the book will be available in print and handy dandy e-book format from Amazon.com and more!

Thursday, February 10th, 2011 | Author: Casey Criswell

As the old natty year of 2010 ticked over to the fresh and shiny year of 2011, I made myself a little mental note. Some call them resolutions, some call them goals. I just made a little check list of crap I’m going to get done this year. I guess you would call those ‘goals’.

Anywho.

The first of those goals has officially begun and by golly, it feels pretty damn good to get that first step over with. Over the past week I’ve been pouring over a 3000 word short story called “Kingdom of Squalor” for a contest. I didn’t find out about the contest until last week but I decided I wanted to go for it. Today, after several rounds of edits and convincing myself that my story is shit; I think I’m ready to send it out the door. That’s a problem of mine; I really can’t convince myself that any of these stories are worth a damn!

As for the goal stuff, my lofty goal was to submit twelve short stories in 2011. Note that I didn’t say sell; just to submit. 12 different stories. A lofty goal? Oh yes. An obtainable goal? Yes, if I get my ass in gear. Is said ass in gear? It’s in something, It’s starting to burn!

So there you have it; “Kingdom of Squalor” makes the first of those 12 stories out the door. We’re going to tick the countdown clock to 11 to make it official. Now if I can get this contest to take the story? Well that’s even better.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, January 30th, 2011 | Author: Casey Criswell

Ah video games, the perfect addition to sedentary afternoon.

A good two years ago, we gamers were blessed with “Dead Space”, a nice little third person shooter for the Xbox 360 and PS3. The game was full of blood and guts and had a pretty gripping story line that would be right at home with any number of horror flicks.

If you’re a TV watcher, there’s a good chance you’ve seen the ad campaign for the sequel, i.e. “Your’e Mom’s Gonna Hate It”. The commercials promise even more gruesome game play and a full fledged continuation of the story. As of last week, the game was released to the public and we were able to find out if our mom’s would indeed hate the game.

I’m a long way from being done with the game but from what I’ve seen in 3 chapters? It’s pretty damn great!

As for the mechanics of the game, much of it is identical to our run through the Ishimura back in 2008. The controls handle the same. The seat of your pants trek through dark and shadowy corridor game play is the same. There really wasn’t anything wrong with the first game in these departments, so there’s nothing wrong with reusing it once again. Things are so close, you can access your original upgraded Plasma Gun from your “Dead Space” game save!

There are a few new additions to the formula, such as quick time events if you find yourself pinned down by a creature. These are simple so they don’t become to troublesome. The other big improvement comes in the graphics department which is flat out great. The dark steel environments of the game come to life in smooth high res graphics and all of it ties together to make a damn engrossing story. Those high res graphics help make this one hell of a gory game as well!

After three chapters of game play, this is obviously not a full review. It is enough for me to confidently say ‘this game is awesome, go play it now!’. The scenes are all filled with tension and foreboding and makes for some of my favorite ‘horror gaming’ I’ve had on the 360 in awhile. You all know me…I’m a bit jaded with all the horror movies I’ve watched and reviewed over the years. Dead Space 2? This one has made me jump a dozen times so far! Sure, a lot of the jumps are due to the cheapest b-movie ploys known to man. They deploy them in great fashion though!

So consider this a preview as I don’t have any more time to spend talking bout it. I have a few more chapters to tackle before the day winds down!

Quick Edit: Holy crap, I just found this awesome Dead Space 2 Rig Hoodie over at the Visceral Studios Store. Time to figure out how to talk the wife into letting me blow $60 on a sweatshirt!

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Thursday, December 09th, 2010 | Author: Casey Criswell

Posts have grown sporadic here as of late while I throw myself into what I feel may be my biggest writing project yet! It’s an ambitious idea and could eat up quite a bit of my time. In the end though, it would let me refer to myself as a ‘novelist’ and that’s not so bad, now is it?

Yes, like many other hopeful writers out there I’ve thrown myself at my first attempt at a novel. I like to think I have a ‘novel’ idea. I’ve spent quite a bit of time outlining it and plotting and well…what I have entertains me quite a bit! In the end, I think that’s what really counts, doesn’t it?

At any rate, as I approach the 100 page mark (100 pages written in various chunks, mind you.) I figured I might as well share a sample chapter. It gives a good example of the voice I’m planning on using, spells out quite a bit about the main character and gives you a taste of where the plot’s heading. Since this is my first time and I’m the self doubting type, this is my selfish plea for encouragement and such as well! As the doubt sets in, the word count slows and I start to wonder if it’s really all worth it.

So, if you like this sample chapter of “Dinner With Denton”, be sure to leave some comments or hell, shoot me an email at a ccriswell@gmail.com and let me know what you think!

Without further adieu, I give you “Dinner With Denton”: A Sample Chapter after the jump.

more…

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Tuesday, October 19th, 2010 | Author: Casey Criswell

Coming out in 1995, “Tales From the Hood” was a movie that flew under the radar for me. The early trailers for the movie made the stories packed within the anthology look weak with the urban themes being forced in to fit the tones of the ‘From the Hood’ moniker. Some fifteen years later, I’ve come to find out that the themes are heavily urban in flavor making a great setting for this group of fun stories.

Trying the four stories together is Clarence Williams III. Portraying an eccentric undertaker in a funeral home, he is confronted by three young thugs in search of ‘the shit’. As he stalls the three men, he shows them the various dark corners of his funeral home, each of which unlocks a different story that eventually seals the groups fate.

Ultimately, “Tales From the Hood” is quite a bit of fun. While it doesn’t’ do anything revolutionary to the genre, it is on par with many films of its kind, especially horror flicks that came out in the nineties. None of the stories are overly scary but they pack a good dark sense of humor and give a creepy vibe throughout. There is a good variety between the stories as well. The tale of a young boy with a powerful imagination is downright touching. Watching Corbin Bernson act like a racist pig rather disturbing, his fate well suited. The harsh reality that flashes through a dying murderers mind; unnerving. All of the shorts manage to push their point without taking themselves too seriously.

The best part of the entire movie is Clarence Williams, hands down. He’s campy. He’s over the top. He’s maniacal and has good comedic timing. He’s just all around entertaining and the glue that holds the whole thing together.

“Tales Form the Hood” isn’t going to show you anything new. It’s going to keep you around for the full runtime though and give you some laughs and some chills. I’d say it’s well worth throwing in the DVD player for a Halloween party and it won’t scare off your non-horror minded friends either!

Monday, October 11th, 2010 | Author: Casey Criswell

This past weekend found me with some spare time on my hands. As you can tell by the cobwebs here around Cinema Fromage, I haven’t had a whole lot of time for movie watching, but I took the opportunity to dive back in head first and catch three movies I’ve been looking forward to seeing! After all, it’s time to start getting geared up for Halloween, right?

Since things have been slow around here lately, I’m going to kick things back into gear with a handful of capsule reviews!

Let Sleeping Corpses Lie – Italian Zombie flicks are always something special but to be completely honest; my experience with them has been pretty Fulci centric. It was a nice change to get outside of the heavy gore that those types of zombie flicks usually rely on and concentrate a bit more on the characters.

Speaking of the characters, they’re something special. George is a hippie but more importantly, he’s a complete and total ass. When he runs into Edna who is traveling the countryside after his motorcycle breaks down, you’re left wanting to bust him in the chops just to shut his demanding ass up. It’s that bad. This is counteracted though by Edna who is slightly dreamy and sweet played by Christine Galbo. She is quite lovely. Throw in Edna’s heroin addicted sister trapped in a country side manor and things get pretty zany.

The cool twist here is the source of infection. It’s a nice change and something a bit different from what was causing zombies in other movies in those days. Here we’re looking at a radioactive insect repellent that drives the denizens of the country side to become aggressive and violent. And though I said before that it’s a nice change from the typical super gory Fulci formula, there is still a good chunk of blood and guts going on here!

Psychomania – I’ve been dying to see “Psychomania” for a long time though I never worked too hard to find a copy. Thankfully, Turner Classic Movies made it nice and easy for me by showing the flick late Friday night. Here’s another confession; the reason I wanted to see “Psychomania”? Those motorcycle helmets are KICKIN’ RAD! I mean, look at that logo with the skull and the helmet! Isn’t that cool?

Anyways…

Yet another twist on the classic zombie formula, now we get into deals with the devil and cults and black magic. It sounds pretty off putting at first and as a standard horror flick, its pretty light in the scares department. Still a pretty captivating flick, simply because it’s unlike anything you’ve seen before! When we’re first introduced to the gang of young people terrorizing the country side, they seemed dark and mysterious and simply strange. Once the leader of the band of misfits Tom Latham goes home for the night, he transforms into some British Ultra-Mod type with his snazzy white turtleneck and high fashion living room decor. We’re talking Austin Powers here folks.

Despite the ‘yah baby yah’ tendencies, it’s still a good flick. Its look at the undead is pretty unique altogether, one that looks at an after life of causing mayhem free from death and consequence rather than feeding on flesh and brains. My one nit-picky 3am gripe about the movie? They buried Tom sitting on top of his bike. Dig the damn hole deeper, his head was still sticking out!

Cabin Fever 2 – I was never the biggest fan of Eli Roth’s original “Cabin Fever”. I didn’t’ hate it or anything. I just wasn’t into it as much as others seem to be. For “Cabin Fever 2″ I wasn’t expecting a whole lot, especially since I didn’t care for Ti West’s “House of the Devil” much at all! Turns out, I ended up enjoying it more than I thought I would!

Plot wise, there’s nothing much new here. The disease has hit the water table that the local bottled water company draws its water from. So; same disease, new location. We have one Giussepe Andrews returning from the first flick as Deputy Wilson and that’s about it. He knows what’s going on when things start to go gooey around town. Now we have a high school outsider type played by “Deadgirl” lead Noah Segan and his hopeless crush on Alexi Wasser. Unfortunately for Noah, Alexi’s got an asshole boyfriend she’s in love with, so Noah doesn’t stand a chance. All of that is an aside to the main point of contention here which is…the disease is back, it’s going to culminate at the high school prom and things are going to get messy.

If you push back the standard run of the mill plot, you’re left with the gore being the main character of “Cabin Fever 2″. In that aspect, Ti West succeeds pretty well! There are a lot of moments that fit in well with the Eli Roth original. There’s body parts sliding off here and there, bloody vomit and some scenes involving genitalia that will make you cringe and look away from the TV. Considering that’s the whole point of the series? I’d call that a good thing!

Monday, July 19th, 2010 | Author: Casey Criswell

Growing up in Northern Indiana, I’ve met my fair share of Amish folk. Sure, we don’t have quite the Amish population that someplace like Pennsylvania has, but there are plenty of them out here. They’re a friendly folk and are always happy to lend a hand. I’ve always found them a bit fascinating to be quite honest in how they live their lives without all the things we take for granted!

That being said, they’re an oft overlooked culture for such things as horror films. I’m not saying we should target them or anything, but in today’s age of rehashing everything until it’s done to death, there’s a whole culture that could be mined for some story telling. Every other culture has taken their share of jabs and such and their way of life could lend itself to some decent plot turns in a new setting. When I read the plot for “The Season”, I was quite intrigued by the idea of a story set around a rogue sect of Amish folk!

In “The Season”, we find ourselves watching a large group of hapless people traveling the countryside. They all have different destinations in mind and reasons for being out there. Some are skipping parole, others are on vacation. When on a road trip, it only makes sense that you’re going to need gas along the way and luckily for all involved, there’s a homey little gas station run by a large Amish family out in the middle of nowhere! Everybody gases up and enjoys the lemonade and sandwiches offered up by the friendly Mrs. of the family and set about their merry way! As all parties leave the friendly wayside rest stop, they quickly learn that the station may have been plagued by a bad tank of gas as all of their cars break down. When they return to the homestead to look for help, they soon find that they may stopped at an unfortunate time of year; for the rogue sect of Amish that have been living here over the years, their breeding stock is wearing out and wouldn’t you know it? It’s mating season.

For a movie that promises something new with setting itself in the Amish culture, it turns out the base plot of “The Season” is in fact nothing new. We’ve seen a similar plot in many a backwoods hillbilly flick and this movie does nothing much to differentiate itself from these tales. It’s the same story, just a different group of people doing the inbreeding and murderin’! That’s not to say that the film is all bad however. Where “The Season” excels is its use of out of place gore, played off the gentile and friendly nature of the Amish people. Where with a backwoods freak, you expect craziness such as blood and guts and carnal attacks. With the Amish folk, you can expect some solid strength and some old world values, but you don’t expect those values to be enforced with blood laced attacks with mallets and pitch forks.

For you standard direct to DVD horror flick, the gore in “The Season” is well done and is kept from being too gratuitous. Sure, there’s a lot of it but it fits in with the plot and the nature of the characters that are carrying out the atrocities. The effects are well done for a low budget film and are truly the highlight of the film.

The plot here is not a real slouch either. While the story has been done before, the pace flows well throughout much of the movie and the characters carry on well in believable and entertaining fashion. We know where they’re going with everything in the film but we don’t mind watching. You’ll be looking forward to seeing just what will happen next attack wise and wonder as to how far the director will go with trying to make his film stand out from the pack. Unfortunately, all is not sunshine and roses as we hit the final act of the movie and “The Season” begins to suffer from being too long. Were the movie perhaps fifteen to twenty minutes shorter, we’d have a good direct to DVD film on our hands. Instead, we have a movie that we’re engaged in throughout the majority of the journey but eventually hit a wall that makes your attention wander. There’s bouts of long exposition and wandering dialog that takes us away from the fun we were having. Thankfully, they patch things back up with a decent ending after all the long winded talking runs its course.

I can’t say that “The Season” is a good movie from beginning to end, but there is quite a bit of decent movie packed in here. The first forty five to fifty minutes will entertain you well enough but soon your eyes will cross and you’ll forget what you were doing for a bit. Good for a late night fix, it’s not necessarily a movie you’ll want to go out of your way to track down.

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Saturday, June 12th, 2010 | Author: Casey Criswell

Okay, admit it; we all love Steve Guttenberg just a little bit at least. His days as Sgt. Mahoney made him a lovable and endearing miscreant. Sure, he shows up here and there in bit parts and cameos, I’ve never seen him headline a horror movie. To be honest, I never really thought of him headlining a horror movie before. The idea is a nice little twist for the guy as an actor and for us as a viewer. It’s fun to see somebody you know so well who embodies a certain characteristic challenge themselves and change things up just a bit! It’s just too bad that “Cornered!” as a whole didn’t add up to back up Guttenberg’s venture into new territory.

Inner city convenience stores are a dime a dozen, but for the purposes of “Cornered!” our store of the moment is populated by a group of colorful lowlifes and regulars. The store is owned by Steve, an over watchful and paranoid man that accepts life as is. He’s assisted by his nephew Jimmy played by James Duval, a lapsed rehab patient. Donny Donut, the chubby and wimpy store clerk does his best to fend off shoplifters while he harbors his love for street walker Jess who is happy to let Donny fawn over her. To round out the mix, we have Mona the heavyset freelance phone sex operator with a taste for ice cream. Guttenberg arrives as Morty, the beer delivery guy who arrives daily to keep the shelves stocked with cans of generic no-name beer.

This group of self described low-lives combine together to show a portrayal of life in inner city america. There’s no real social message here; they’re just real people living life. Since they’re all regulars, they meet once a week at Steve’s apartment over the store to play poker, which we witness as the film unfolds. Cutting over these scenes of ‘life’ we get snatches of news reports that talk of a serial killer stalking convenience stores across the city. As the group of misfits gather to play poker, it is all to obvious what is about to go down over the course of the night.

“Cornered!” presents a nice idea for a slasher film. That of a group of people held to one limited location as the killer works his way through the cast one by one. The premise is ultimately nothing new though. We’ve seen similar set ups before, so you have to make things happen on screen to make your movie stand out. “Cornered!” simply doesn’t do that. The movie is predictable from the very beginning leaving little to no mystery. We see that everybody is going to come to the store to play poker. We know that there is a serial killer on the loose targeting convenience stores. We know that the over protective shopkeep is going to lock everybody inside. The only real question is ‘who is the killer?’ and it really isn’t that hard to guess early on.

Though the movie is predictable leaving “Cornered!” as a bit lack luster in the slasher/serial killer department, there are still some good things to watch here. If you watch the special features, the director pushes the idea that he wants the characters to appear real in their portrayal and not some caricature of what inner city denizens. They are indeed successful in this wish! Each person that we focus on does have a stereotypical basis in their character but they are not over the top. Jess is a low-rent hooker, but she has real concerns such as money and rent. Steve is over protective of his store running and watching security cameras 24/7. It’s believable though because the store is all he has, so why wouldn’t he go overboard trying to protect it? It’s this aspect that makes “Cornered!” worth the watch instead of the serial killer tangent that brings them all together.

As far as a slasher movie goes, the film falls short in giving us anything new and exciting. There are attempts made to give our killer some stand out quirks such as killing each victim in ways central to methods mentioned early on in the film, but each moment happens so fast and shaky that it’s hard to get much thrill from them. We watch Mona be dispatched with her beloved drumstick ice cream cones, but the entire scene is played out in quick snatches. We’re only fully sure how she was killed off in a scene far removed from the kill, later in the movie. As killers go though, there is a slight attempt at a twist ending, but the murderer still manages to feel real by the end of the movie. Watching him work, we again do not get to focus on much to give meat to the character. In the end when he reveals his motives, he seems genuine and fairly basic as to the whys of his actions which makes him stand out just a bit from his counterparts.

“Cornered!” is not a great movie, but there are far worse ones out there. The characters help to keep the movie interesting along with nice attempt at giving it a bit of a grind house feel. Come for the characters and not for the carnage and the movie is worthy of a late night watch. Just don’t expect to find your next favorite psychopath during the running time.

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