M.L. Miller here! As I go into my tenth year of reviewing horror films, I wanted to go back to the beginning and repost some of the films I loved. Moving on to Year Seven of my year-long Retro-Best in Horror I’m recapping the Countdown beginning officially on October 1, 2016 and going through September 30, 2017. I have posted Best of lists in the past, but a lot of those old reviews haven’t seen the light of day since they were first posted many moons ago. Being the OCD person that I am, I have also worked and reworked the list, looking back at my own choices and shifting them around, and even adding a few that I might have missed or looked over from the year in question. So, if you think you know how these lists are going to turn out, you don’t! Don’t forget to like and share my picks with your pals across the web on your own personal social media. 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!
Released on November 15, 2016! Available On Demand, digital download, & DVD here!
THE SIMILARS (2015)
aka LOS PERECIDOS
Directed by Isaac Ezban
Written by Isaac Ezban
Starring Gustavo Sánchez Parra, Luis Alberti, Carmen Beato, Fernando Becerril, Humberto Busto, Cassandra Ciangherotti, Alberto Estrella, Pablo Guisa Koestinger, María Elena Olivares, Catalina Salas, Santiago Torres
Find out more about this film on Facebook here
Eight people; a rambling homeless women, a man rushing to see his pregnant wife in the hospital, a spastic paranoid man, a pregnant woman, the ticket seller, the cleaning lady, and a mother with a very peculiar child, find themselves trapped in a bus station with a raging storm outside and no buses or taxis running anywhere. News reports on the radio state that the storm is freakishly occurring around the world and causing a worldwide panic. Outside, people are beginning to act irrationally, and it seems to be seeping inside the bus station. The group think they are safe from the tempestuous happenings outside, but something truly odd and unusual is occurring to them one by one, turning them against one another.
The premise of THE SIMILARS is something that feels like it was ripped straight from an episode of the TWILIGHT ZONE and I can think of two episodes in particular that this film reminded me of, but telling you the names of them will reveal way too much than I want to about this absolutely riveting descent into oddity and madness. The choice to film in black and white also makes the film feel much more like a lost episode of that classic series rather than something fresh and new. Still, despite its similarity to one of my favorite TV series ever, it manages to feel both relevant and thrilling from start to finish thanks to Isaac Ezban’s quirky yet unsettling direction. The look of this film feels like a stage play, but much of the decisions to the simple set the actions take place in seem intentional to give the viewer a sense of unease. Diagonal squares in the ceiling and floors sandwich our actors into this space causing a sense of utter unease. Ezban’s camera swoops and twirls around this set as the action unfolds making every scene feel vibrant and tension filled.
Films like INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS are definitely going to come to mind as this film plays out. Every scene is steeped in paranoia and confusion as the madness begins to spread and those trapped in the bus station begin to form alliances and turn on one another in rapid succession. Without revealing too much, this is a film that at times feels rather ludicrous, but the performances are so good that you believe them. It makes you believe that, should the insanity that occurs in this film actually happen, you would probably react to this bizarre situation in the same way. It’s a film about lack of trust in your fellow man and how easily society can fall apart if something simply unexplainable happens.
Like TWILIGHT ZONE, THE SIMILARS is the type of science fiction that isn’t done anymore. It’s not laser swords and fantastic set pieces. It’s a sci fi that asks “What if?” and then sees how human nature reacts to the unnatural events unfolding. As a fan of TWILIGHT ZONE and old sci fi comics, I absolutely loved every tension-filled minute of this odd masterpiece of paranoia and horror. Ezban is a fresh and talented new voice in cinema of the bizarre. His films seem to be both harkening back to sci fi stories of old, while reminding us why those stories were so good in the first place. All at once, THE SIMILARS is a throwback and a breath of fresh air in a genre that forgot that you don’t need a big budget to tackle big ideas.
THE 2016-2017 COUNTDOWN!
#14 – THE SIMILARS
#15 – HOWL
#16 – SEOUL STATION
#17 – THE TRANSFIGURATION
#18 – THE GREASY STRANGLER
#19 – I AM THE PRETTY THING IN THE HOUSE
#20 – ANNABELLE 2: CREATION
#21 – SPLIT
#22— TRASH FIRE
#23 – 47 METERS DOWN
#24 – HELL HOUSE LLC
#25 – THE SUBLET
#26 – PATCHWORK
#27 – IT STAINS THE SANDS RED
#28 – GERALD’S GAME
#29 – LAKE BODOM
#30 – NIGHT OF SOMETHING STRANGE
#31 – THE EVIL WITHIN
M. L. Miller is a wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of MLMILLERWRITES.COM. Follow @Mark_L_Miller.
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