Encapsulated Movie Reviews – Six New Indie Titles

What a wild and utterly varied week for indie films – I can honestly say it’s been a cinematic roller coaster ride for yours truly.  The six films below are so interesting, unique and envelope pushing that even the few on the bottom of the list still manage to linger long.  (That’s a film feat!)  Dangerous digs, wacky women, tricky teens, female fighting taxi drivers, undead with a distinctive southern flair and sexual predatory behavior by women are all featured via this extremely bold edition of Encapsulated Movie Reviews.  Check out the skinny on Demon House, Flower, Josie, Cold Hell, Attack Of The Southern Fried Zombies and Allure below!

(Freestyle Digital Media)

Ghost Adventures alum Zak Bagans buys a demonically possessed hell house sight unseen and spends a damning three years chronicling his experience.  To say the details and events within the film are unsettling is truly an understatement (there’s even a warning not to watch as the film may be ‘cursed’!) and the consequences to all that come in contact with the haunted home are far too widespread to be totally coincidental.  (Plus the point where Bagans bold and stupidly boards himself inside the residence has some of the most convincing visual evidence of evil doing I’ve ever seen – and I’m a bit of a skeptic!)  The only thing that does calms the five-star chill here is a few unneeded re-enactments that do take away from the first person creep factor, but Demon House has so many dark corners that scares are all but guaranteed.

(The Orchard)

On paper Flower feels like a film that frankly should not work.  The lead character is a caustic and sassy teen tramp who sees no problem with oral sex with anyone at anytime, the tone of the film runs from drama to comedy to morose thriller with little ease and the narrative becomes so far fetched that even the theory of ‘being a movie’ can’t excuse the sharp story turns.  But help me – I still dug it.  Going against all my critical beliefs on unneeded vulgarity (lead Zoey Deutch pulls off the salacious honest character bits – even the graphic sexual ones!), topsy-turvy tonal shifts (the film’s structure is not unlike it’s enigmatic lead – wild and all over the place!) and inane endings (loved the finale on this one more than anything!), Flower is an outing that ultimately fails all conventional film wisdom…and I love it for that.

(Screen Media Films)

Filmmaker Eric England, the mind behind the gross pre-zombie cult flick Contracted, tries his hand at a noir style thriller with Josie to mixed results.  On the down side the slow pace of the film bogs down much of the tension (plus the issues involving a budding grown man, teen girl relationship isn’t exactly fun stuff!), not to mention that lead man Dylan McDermott seems utterly miscast as a troubled gent dealing with major issues.  (A quirky character actor he is not!)  The upside is in the form of Josie herself Game Of Thrones alum Sophie Turner who makes such a delicious turn as a teen with ambiguous and unclear motivations that when truth reveals it’s ugly head there’s a slight perverse satisfaction – Turner saves Josie from being just another suspense stinker.


With a killer premise, Cold Hell is a German import with serious five-star potential that unfortunately gets mired in old school movie tropes.  Meaning the tale of feisty femme and cabbie Özge, (ample action lead Violetta Schurawlow!) that witnesses a murder but also happens to be a brutal bad ass Thai-boxer has some terrific set pieces (see her and a knife wielding killer go toe-to-toe!) and sizzling sequences (the car battle is show stopping!) should have been a cinematic slam dunk.  But with unneeded archetypal additions like a male detective to the rescue (does this gal really needed to be saved by anyone?!) and side characters that take away Özge’s singular focus (insert a kid here!), Cold Hell sadly never fully fulfills its fiery female destiny.

(Gravitas Ventures)

Taking the familiar undead story into the area of hick humor could have left room for some decent redneck yuks, but Attack of the Southern Fried Zombies frankly isn’t all that fun.  Taking itself way too seriously (the virus is via scientists…with accents!), falling flat on the humor front (not a single piece of fried chicken anywhere?!) and creating characters that feel B-movie approved (insert hot lesbian couple for gratuitous boob shot!), the only thing this one is attacking is a genre already half dead.  (Two dogs for creative kills!)

(Samuel Goldwyn Films)

I get that flicks Room are supposed to be dark and uncomfortable, but the good ones also make us acutely aware of the hopeful side of humanity too.  Problem with Allure is while it sports an effective turn by Evan Rachel Wood as a sexual predator and manipulator of an unsuspecting 13-year old girl, the film has little in terms of light or redemption and after a while feels like a bit like being cinematically tortured.  Helmers Carlos and Jason Sanchez keep the film in such a grim and dim emotional state that one can’t help but emerge shell-shocked from it’s wicked wares – not exactly a merry day at the movies.



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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