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 – RONDO!
The only reason RONDO is in the Worth Noting list and not the main top 31 is because I can’t honestly categorize it as a horror film. A lot of horrific things occur in RONDO, but I think it falls in the cult/revenge/thriller category more adequately. However you categorize it, you’re going to measure your life as “Before Watching RONDO” and “After RONDO Knocked Me On My Ass.” This is one hell of a movie. Released on December 9, 2018, here is my review of the unforgettable RONDO! Available on DVD/BluRay, On Demand and digital download from Artsploitation Films!
Directed by Drew Barnhardt
Written by Drew Barnhardt
Starring Brenna Otts, Luke Sorge, Reggie De Morton, Gena Shaw, G.C. Clark, Ketrick ‘Jazz’ Copeland, Grant Benjamin Leibowitz, Michael Vasicek, Ashley Gagnon, Meegan Kiefel, Iva Nora, Kevin Sean Ryan, Joseph M. Veals, & Steve Van Beckum as the Narrator!
RONDO is not a horror film. Inside this twisted, acid-tripping, roller coaster, all night gangbang of a movie there is murder, deviant sexual acts, stalking, machine gunning, dismembering, alcoholism, drugs, and all sorts of horrific acts one person can do to another. But it’s not a horror film. It is, though, one of my absolute favorite genre films of the year and I’m pretty sure if you have a wicked sense of humor and taste in movies, it will be yours too.
When Jill (Brenna Otts) has reached the breaking point with her brother Paul (Luke Sorge) who struggles with PTSD and alcoholism after returning from the military, she sends him to a psychologist she recently met. With no where else to go, Paul agrees and goes to an appointment with the psychologist Cassie (Gena Shaw). Expecting to receive the usual self-help speeches and maybe a prescription, Paul is surprised when Cassie recommends that he should simply get laid and gives him the number to a men’s club that would provide the relief he has been yearning. This begins the sordid trip through hell that is RONDO.
I don’t want to reveal any more than the setup here because RONDO is best experienced un-spoiled. RONDO is definitely a film where style is all-important. The story itself is quite simple. It’s a revenge story about a brother and sister, but it’s the way the film is told—through banal narration, electrifying music, wonderful character moments, and camera techniques that, while often used, are never exploited in such a monumentally grimy, gritty, and gristly way. RONDO is the epitome of eye-candy cinema, never flinching on giving the viewer beautiful women, teeth-gnashing violence, and toe-curling suspense.
Right from the get-go, one can tell this is not your typical movie. While it seems to emulate gritty noir films, it douses itself with modern details. The DRAGNET-style narration by Steve Van Beckum, reminiscent of the narration of MAGNOLIA and always evoking the unique voice of Phillip Baker Hall, starts us out with wonderful exposition, telling the viewer everything we need to know and sometimes comically, more than that. The narration has a wonderfully droll sense of humor that works marvelously.
On top of the narration, RONDO juxtaposes dubstep beats and synth by Ryan Franks & Scott Nickoley with the rich noir atmosphere, giving it an off-kilter, yet somehow addictive style. The opening credits that show bullets being dropped into a glass of whiskey played backwards to the bombastic beats and blasting sounds alert you right away that this is a mashup like you’ve never seen before.
RONDO never gives up shredding your nerves, arousing hidden kinks, and driving the knife in deeper from the very beginning. It literally hits the ground running and wastes no time at plunging the viewer and the clueless Paul and his protective sister Jill into this sordid world. The film climaxes in blood, bodies, and bullets in a slo mo massacre unlike any seen onscreen before.
I guarantee you’ve never seen a film like RONDO. Director Drew Barnhardt has crafted an utterly unique trip to the darkest side of humanity and I loved every step of it. Do yourself a favor and dubstep into the dark side with RONDO. You’ll come out the other side a changed person.
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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