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The Awakened

USA 2012
produced by
Juan F. Gonzalez, Lou Simon, Andrew Feldman (executive) for Blue Nile Pictures
directed by Douglas Villalba, Lou Simon
starring Stephanie Pitts, Nikolas Holmes, Jonathan 'Legacy' Perez, John J Thomassen, Nancy Sayegh, Julie Kendall, Harry Marsh, Wil J. Jackson, Saphie Gonzalez, Paul Castronovo, Juan F. Gonzalez, Lou Simon
story by Juan F. Gonzalez, Lou Simon, screenplay by Lou Simon, music by Michael Damon

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Miami, Florida is to be hit by a category three storm, so Manny (Jonathan 'Legacy' Perez) decides to invite a handful of his friends to a hurricane party to his totally fortified house. But the party is doomed from the beginning because of the choice of guests alone. Sure, Kevin (John J Thomassen) might by Manny's best friend, but Manny also tries to get into Kevin's girlfriend Laura's (Nancy Sayegh) panties, as they actually had drunken sex once before. Laura has brought her best friend Gina (Stephanie Pitts), who suffers from all kinds of anxieties and asthma, and has left all her medication in her car. And Gina's boyfriend Charlie (Nikolas Holmes) is just a total bore. To lift the spirits a bit (pun inevitable), the quintet try to recreate a healing seance Laura has told them about ... and somehow they really pull some spirits back from the next world, phantoms that hide in the dark to frighten the heebiegeebies out of them at the least appropriate moments before they kill one after the othre, starting with Laura and Kevin.

The others soon realize they are caught in a dead trap: They can't go out or the hurricane will get them, but if they stay inside, the spirits might - and since they refuse to believe in spirits, it's not long before Charlie and Manny accuse each others of the murders. But of course, the truth is much more gruesome ...

Not only considering The Awakened is confined to merely one location, this is a pretty exciting movie, basically because it gets all the key elements right: It features a bunch of interesting and likeable if flawed characters (who are all above cannonfodder status), it does focus on the scares rather than giving its spooks another one of these forgettable and clichéed backstories, it features enough plottwists to keep the story interesting from beginning to end, and the directorial effort is intelligent enough to get the most out of the movie's limited locations yet subtle enough to concentrate on the narrative rather than hit the audience over the head with an overkill of flashy images.

Recommended, actually!


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD