Instead of a trilogy, The Purge is now officially a franchise. Surpassing the trilogy milestone, Blumhouse Productions has decided to give us an origin to the dangerous and violent phenomenon we have become a part of since 2013 when the first film was released. This franchise continues to grow with each installment feeling more closer and closer to the real thing and stepping out of the horror fantastical world it has created. Advertised and promoted as an anti-Trump film from the poster of his orange/red hat “making America great again” to a lot of the themes in the films, using the purge as a device to control the population and also thin the numbers to the low income and ethnic population in the U.S. Now comes the question, do we like that these movies are speaking more towards social and economic commentary or would we like to keep it as a fictional tale showcasing a world that is nowhere near our future for entertainment value?
I had the pleasure of attending the L.A. premiere of the latest sci-fi/horror/action movie Upgrade written and directed by Leigh Whannell. It was nice to be able to watch this film on the big screen with the cast and crew of the film as well as other eager fans who couldn’t wait to watch this unique storytelling combined with heavy exhilarating action. This film exceeded expectations and it wasn’t until after I left that I realized I needed this movie in my life more than I thought.
Mostly known for his writing Whannell has been involved in some of the genre changing film in the past decade. Whether its acting, writing, or directing, he has been a part of the horror genre with Saw and the Insidious Franchise as well as writing smaller titles like Dead Silence and horror comedy Cooties, which I think everyone should check out. Now on his second director/writer project after Insidious: Chapter 3 comes the techno/thriller Upgrade, a story set in a Dystopian future where technology is used to complete normal and mundane task but also serve as a solution in preventing or stopping crime in a timely matter. A man who has been paralyzed after a brutal mugging is given the opportunity to walk and take revenge on those who did this to him with the help of a new piece of technology that hasn’t been used on another human being. With his new-found ability to walk along with the help of an AI that enhances his body, he sets out to get justice for what has happened to him.
I know what you are thinking, what is unique about this film. It’s basically Robocop, The Crow, or any other revenge movie out there. Fair enough, doesn’t mean the format doesn’t work if you give it just a little twist. This is what stood out for me in this movie:
Blumhouse Productions have been on a winning streak in my book when it comes to releasing unique and fun horror films under their brand. Movies such as Get Out, Happy Death Day, and Split. Just like New Line Cinema or Dimension Films in the 90’s and 2000’s, when I see that logo, I know I am in for a horror-ific treat. Blumhouse Productions is starting to become that latest logo for me and their latest film under their resume is Truth or Dare.
Truth or Dare is the latest teen slasher flick with a mission to take an old fashion horror movie blue print with a different unique approach to the “slasher”. The PG-13 film stars Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars) and Tyler Posey (Teen Wolf) as two of a group of friends who want to spend their last spring break with each other in Mexico before they all separate into adulthood. They stumble upon a stranger who convinces them to go to a specific location to play the game truth or dare. Once they play, they are permanently in the game and have to continue to play or die. Don’t tell the truth, you die, refuse to do the dare, you die.
It’s October, the time to celebrate and embrace all things fear. That includes lots and lots of horror movies. Whether it is at the movies or on Netflix and Amazon, horror movies get released quicker than usual. With this particular October, it just so happens that we get a Friday the 13th day as well. That particular combo doesn’t come around that often but when it does you can definitely expect a horror movie to be released on that day. That movie this year is called Happy Death Day. A play on words from Happy Birthday, Happy Death Day, is a horror comedy told in the same structure as the popular cult classic comedy Groundhog Day.
College girl Tree Gelbman, wakes up in a guy’s dorm room after a drunken night and navigates through her day like normal only it’s her birthday. That very evening she is attacked by a masked person who kills her with a knife. The next moment after her death she wakes up in the same dorm room she woke up in at the beginning of her day. She learns that after she died the day has reset itself and she is the only one who can remember what happened to her. She is now repeating the same day over again and it always ends with her dying. Now she has to repeat the day over and over until she can solve her murder and unmasked the killer.