Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews - By Fans For Fans



Directed by Nathan Crooker, Lorcan Finnegan, Charly Goitia, David M. Night Maire, Mia Kate Russell, Ryan J. Thompson and Adam O’ Brien.
Horror, US, 78 minutes.

Released by Reel2Reel Films on UK Digital Platforms on 24th April.


Horror anthologies are usually a mixed bag. Results in quality vary from both ends of the spectrum. This anthology, a sequel in name only to 2019’s A NIGHT OF HORROR: NIGHTMARE RADIO, takes the same framework of a radio DJ, Candy, asking for callers to tell her scary, unbelievable stories. One persistent caller, calling himself Jack, becomes increasingly unsettling to Candy as she realises she may have a link to him already. As Jack gets ever closer, revealing more personal details, we witness a bunch of stories from a host of directors, some of whom are already familiar to horror audiences.


As I mentioned before, there is a real sliding scale of quality in anthology films, and this showcase is mostly disappointing. Even more disappointing is the realisation that you are watching a selection of short films made over the past decade that are mostly available online for free. This was also the case with the previous film, but the framing story here is so lacking in almost every respect that you may be just as well tracking them down to watch on their own.


Events start immediately with PLAY TIME, directed by Ryan J. Thompson, a speedy entry showing a woman encountering a television that refuses to switch off. We are then thrust into the framing story, which feels completely superfluous, before being treated to the strongest entry on offer here. Lorcan Finnegan’s FOXES carries some of the same visual DNA that he would then carry over to VIVARIUM. The endless tract of near-empty houses stretching off in every direction is the setting for the tale of an out-of-work photographer unsatisfied with her home life. She soon becomes attracted to the wilder, natural aspects of nature that are beginning to reclaim the empty estate where she lives. Stylish and well-acted, this is easily the best short on offer here.


PLAYBACK, directed by Nathan Crooker, is a fleeting offering involving a masked killer that is over before you know it, while Adam O’Brien’s offering, INSANE, takes far too long to tell a cliched ghost story set in an abandoned mental hospital. LIZ DRIVES, a short from Mia Kate Russell, has a nasty sting in its tail of a road pursuit set in the Australian countryside, while the final tale, CHATEAU SAUVIGNON: TERROIR, directed by David M. Night Maire, has a nicely directed and sinister atmosphere to go alongside its tale of a murderous vintner.


This is a real mixed bag that is barely held together by its completely lacklustre framing device. Some of the films just start out of nowhere with no introduction, and the whole enterprise has a cash-grab feeling to it. On their own, the films are worth seeking out, but the shoddy packaging here leaves a lot to be desired and is barely worth investing your time in.


Iain MacLeod.


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Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews
By Fans For Fans