Encapsulated Movie Reviews – Seven New Indie Titles

Keeping up with indie film is hard indeed – but somebody’s gotta do it!  Up for encapsulated dissection this week is crop of seven new indie outings that cover any and every genre the avid film fan might be seeking.  Tales of child trauma revisited, the past enlightening dangers of sleepwalking, inspiring stories of survival, monster movies on a small scale, revenge seeking lethal ladies, the woes of finding money and old horror yarns revisited all make up the flicks covered in this weeks Encapsulated Movie Reviews.  Check out the skinny on Una, Sleepwalker, 6 Below: Miracle on the Mountain, M.F.A., Blood Money and Dementia 13 below!


(Swen Releasing)

Playing out like a well crafted David Mamet play, Una is a captivating tale dealing with the repercussions of child abuse.  Not only does it at times have an engrossing rapid fire dialogue dance between the two stunning leads that’s super tense, but the film walks a creepy line between love and hate, romance and deviance and innocence and perversion for one unsettling flick that never lets the viewer off the hook.  Of course the performances by Rooney Mara and Ben Mendelsohn are the swan song of this torrid tale and the power of their work kneecaps almost as much as the subject matter itself.  A lesson in life lived the wrong way, Una is one important film that can’t be watched more than once.

(MarVista Entertainment)

There’s almost a Lynch like quality to the dreamy story of Sleepwalker involving a young woman who finds life around her changing every time she catches some shuteye.  Director Elliott Lester constructs his film in an almost abstract way, taking both the audience and his leading lady Ahna O’Reilly on a weird journey where unpredictability is the destination of the day.  Not that there aren’t some cool characters (The Sixth Sense alum Haley Joel Osment shows up as a bad guy!) and clever story scenarios (love how characters keep changing appearance!), but it’s the more odd aspects of Sleepwalker that make it a flick worth staying up for.

(Momentum Pictures)

Based on a true story, the human vs. elements aspects of the story (skier stranded on a snowy mountain) are decent enough, but as a film this one is not exactly basking in original movie territory. (Besides why would a ski-resort have vicious wolves right next to it?!)  But the good news is I did dig the work of both Josh Hartnett and Mira Sorvino as an estranged mother/son and their turbulent relationship that mostly plays out separately turns out to be the heart of the film.  Mired in clichés (this is helmed by Need For Speed filmmaker Scott Waugh after all!), but still an engaging outing, there are worse films to be stranded with.

(Level 33 Entertainment)

While super low budget and riddled with a gaggle of gamey acting, there are actually some things to celebrate in the monster heavy Bad Blood: The Movie.  Meaning when the film throws away all unneeded dramatic asides (angry father alert!) and doesn’t take itself too seriously, there’s much fun to be had.  Love the gas station basement lab set up (think Herbert West..in an Arco!), the fact that the creature spreading seed is amphibian in nature (giant monster frog alert!) and when the three leads Mary Malloy (as the spirited she-beast to be!), Vikas Adam (a mad scientist working as a gas jockey!) and Troy Halverson (a private dic with seriously sick thoughts!) let their freak flag fly and go for the goofy.  A flick that should have fully embraced the camp in its creature feature, Bad Blood’s still got some good stuff.

(Dark Sky Films)

With the barrage of previous rape revenge flicks ranging from grisly (see the hard-to-handle I Spit on Your Grave!) to satisfying (the magnetic Ashley C. Williams outing Julia is five-star stuff!) it would take a pretty bold cinematic stroke to don something different.  Unfortunately besides the sullen and then sadistic stylings of lead gal Francesca Eastwood (so stunning in the Outlaws And Angels!), M.F.A. does little to elevate familiar work and comes up short in the getting even area too.  (Plus the dumbing down of male characters like Clifton Collins Jr.’s inquisitive cop doesn’t help either!)  At a time when we need films that even the playing field and put strong female characters up to bat, M.F.A. feels like a strike out.

(Saban Films)

While the done-to-death premise of Blood Money is right out of the A Simple Plan creepy character handbook (see what finding money does to friends and lovers!), you would think that the inclusion of a leading lady who is not what she seems and a director who has an affinity for the macabre (The Woman helmer Lucky McKee) would add some originality, right?  Wrong.  Blood Money is a total mess, with bad script, bad staging, bad acting and one really lame bad guy played with walk-through gusto by John “give me my paycheck’ Cusack – money really can make people do anything.

(Chiller Films)

A modern upgrade of the 1963 Francis Ford Coppola B-movie flick, this cash grab is an exercise in pure horror movie torture.  Not the many devious characters on screen plotting the demise of one another, nor the any demonic dolls that inhabit the films’ setting a haunted estate, but for the unsuspecting audience that is forced to sit through it all and suffer.  With more than thirteen reasons why, some movies were just not meant to be resurrected.



I'm a passionate and opinionated film critic/movie journalist with over 20 years of experience in writing about film - now exclusively for WhySoBlu.com. Previous sites include nine years at Starpulse.com where I created Forgotten Friday Flick back in 2011, before that as Senior Entertainment Editor for The213.net and 213 Magazine, as well as a staff writer for JoBlo.com. My other love is doing cool events for the regular guy with my company Flicks For Fans alongside my friend, partner and Joblo.com writer James "Jimmy O" Oster. Check us out at www.Facebook.com/FlicksForFans.

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