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, 2017 and going through September 30, 2018. 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 August 24, 2018. Available on Blu-ray/DVD, On Demand, and digital download! Also streaming on Hulu!
THE LANDING (2017)
Directed by David Dodson, Mark Dodson
Written by David Dodson, Mark Dodson
Starring Don Hannah, Warren Farina, Cindy Lou Adkins, Page Hannah, Arlene Hughes-Martinez, Jeff McVey, Robert Pine, Joe Santaniello, Craig Stepp
Find out more about this film here!
While the NASA moon landings have been the hub of many an online debate, Mark and David Dodson take the whole concept of our controversial trips into the unknown into a bold and highly entertaining direction with the mockumentary thriller THE LANDING. This is certainly a film tailor-made for those with a hankering for conspiracy and cover-up cinema.
Don Hannah stars as Bo Cunningham, decorated pilot and the sole survivor of the fictional Apollo 18 mission to the moon. When the rocket drifts off course during reentry, the world feared that the three-man space crew had perished in 1973. But it turns out, Cunningham was able to land the ship on the other side of the world in a remote area in China. Stranded and alone, the three astronauts struggled to survive in the barren terrain, but when rescue crews made it to the crash site, only one of the astronauts was found alive. The mockumentary depicts a present-day investigation (set in 1998 in the film) and attempts to get to the bottom of what exactly happened in the days between the Apollo 18 went off the grid and their eventual rescue. What unfolds is a complex tale of betrayal, heartbreak, and death.
THE LANDING works on every level. The film is utterly convincing and if one didn’t know that there wasn’t a real Apollo 18 launch, I imagine this film would be mighty convincing that it actually existed. Filmed as a straight up documentary with only a few recognizable actors, this one feels as authentic as they come; combining aged footage of takeoffs, training, landings, scene recreations, and faux news clips. Even the footage recreating what might have happened before and after the mission feels absolutely real.
And while this film seems like a cut and dry case of mechanical failure at first, it unfolds like any good mystery to reveal detail after detail that points to some kind of unnatural acts that occurred during and after the mission. Like any good documentary, the mystery deepens as the interviewers get to know the key players, most importantly the inscrutable Bo Cunningham. Actor Don Hannah is stunning in the lead as Cunningham. His performance gives very little away of what is going on behind his steel exterior and as the story proceeds and we find out more about his backstory from others who know him, we find out that the all-American astronaut is anything but that.
THE LANDING is a fantastic character driven thriller presented in a unique and brilliant format. There are surprises at every turn and the story moves from a cut and dry retelling of a failed NASA mission to a deeply emotional and heart-wrenching tale of tragedy and dire consequence. If you enjoyed last year’s OPERATION: AVALANCHE, you’ll love this excellent faux documentary. This is one of the best films you haven’t heard about yet. Do not miss it.
THE 2017-2018 COUNTDOWN!
#21 – THE LANDING
#22 – TONIGHT SHE COMES
#23 – THE RITUAL
#24 – THE BABYSITTER
#25 – MARROWBONE
#26 – BETTER WATCH OUT
#27 – THE NIGHT EATS THE WORLD
#28 – BE MY CAT: A FILM FOR ANNE
#29 – PYEWACKET
#30 – TERRIFIER
#31 – MAYHEM
M. L. Miller is a wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of MLMILLERWRITES.COM. Follow @Mark_L_Miller.
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