M.L. Miller here! Because you and I love the horror so much, I’ve decided to post a “Worth Noting” pick along with each of my Horror Countdown choices each day through October. The same rules apply. The film must have been released before September 30th, 2019 to the masses (no festival picks). This means that is available to view in theaters, On Demand, DVD/BluRay, or digital download. I’ve tried to indicate in the reviews how you can watch and enjoy these films.
How did I compile this list? Horror is such a broad and varied genre that sometimes, while these choices may not represent the best—something about the film is worth taking notice. Some of these films have similar themes to their counterparts in the main countdown. Some just missed the countdown by an inch or two. Others were just squozed in because there’s nothing like them out there. Others because they have been made available for the first time. One way or another, it’s more horror to enjoy!
I hope you’ll join me daily and don’t forget to like and share my picks with your pals across the web. Chime in after the review and let me know what you think of the film, how on the nose or mind-numbingly wrong I am, or most importantly, come up with your own darn list…let’s go!
Worth Noting – WINTERSKIN!
WINTERSKIN is a unique fable of sorts, never falling completely into one specific subgenre of horror. It’s a low budgeter, but I liked the twists it decided to take and felt that the folks behind it really offered something different. Released late last year in November, here’s my review of WINTERSKIN! Available On Demand and digital download from High Octane Studios!
Directed by Charlie Steeds
Written by Charlie Steeds
Starring David Lenik, Rowena Bentley, Barrington De La Roche, John Lomas, Kate Davies-Speak, Dylan Curtis, Harrison Nash, Peter Cosgrove, Swainley Whipps Eden-Entwistle, Richard Myers, Daniel McKee as the Red Man!
Though I believe WINTERSKIN tries to tell a modern tale, this one feels like a classic in almost every way. Undeniably low budget, WINTERSKIN still manages to incorporate high tension scares, stomach-churning gore, and a sense of terror snatched from some of the best Grimm, Poe, and Lovecraft tales.
A traveler named Billy (David Lenik) wounded and in search of sanctuary happens upon the solitary cabin of an elderly woman named Agnes (Rowena Bentley). As he heals, Billy begins to realize all is not right with Agnes. Turns out she must bolt the doors at night in order to protect herself and her dog from skinless monsters that lurk in the surrounding wilderness. Facing lunacy inside and true monsters inside, Billy has nowhere to hide.
Don’t think I don’t recognize the BLACK CHRISTMAS references with Billy and Agnes, because I caught that right off the bat and though this one isn’t necessarily a slasher taking place over Christmas break, it still is a winter-set horror film and I imagine the names of these characters were not made by coincidence as a fun homage to one of the best horror films of all time.
That aside, WINTERSKIN feels like a retelling of a classic fable with a cabin deep in the woods, a crone in the middle of said woods, and lurking terrors set to threaten our hapless hero. The entire narrative sounds like a story told by a campfire and feels like something wholly different than what one might expect out of low fi movies of the moment. No slashers or zombies (though I suppose the skinless monsters serve as a substitute for zombies here) here, just nicely paced moments of tension and fear peppered with some impressive practical effects.
Sure there are some moments where the acting is not the best and I feel the plot gets a bit convoluted as it nears the climax of the film. But WINTERSKIN does a lot of good. It’s unconventional horror executed in an impressive and potent way. It’s a film that will stick with you after the credits, like one of those lost finds on the video store shelf you weren’t prepared for. Be sure to check out this low fi surprise.
WORTH NOTING SO FAR…
M. L. Miller is a wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of MLMILLERWRITES.COM. Follow @Mark_L_Miller.
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