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Brazen Bull

USA 2010
produced by
Charles Arthur Berg, David Frank Fletcher jr, Michael Madsen, Gergg Luckman (executive) for Luckster Productions
directed by Douglas Elford-Argent
starring Michael Madsen, Jennifer Tisdale, David Frank Fletcher jr, Gwendolyn Garver, Rachel Hunter, Nils Allen Stewart, Anastacia, Shannon Kingston, Elissa Dowling, Christian Madsen, Marek Matousek, Tom Riles, Steve Shaheen
story by Douglas Elford-Argent, Nicholas Mark Harding, screenplay by Thomas Bilyeu, Chris Van de Polder, music by Tim Williams

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Realtor-couple Lauren (Jennifer Tisdale) and Tyler (David Frank Fletcher jr) and their documentary filmmaker friend Ashley (Gwendolyn Garver) go and checkout a new rundown highrise Lauren and Tyler have just bought, a sort of creepy place with no cellphone reception (?) ... that's made a whole lot creepier when Tyler disappears. Eventually, Lauren and Ashley find a television set that's transmitting live from the room where Tyler's at - tied to a table and tortured by an obvious madman (Michael Madsen).

Lauren and Ashley do their best to find Tyler and save him, but instead, the madman finds them, ties them to chairs next to Tyler, cuts Ashley's throat, then tells Lauren a story about himself and her boyfriend while torturing Tyler. Turns out Tyler has driven our psychopath, who once owned the highrise they are at, to bankrupcy, then bought the building from the bank for a fraction of its value and had it rezoned as residential building - which of course means its value skyrockets. This though drove our madman to have his revenge on all those involved with the deal, which was of course a quite obvious fraud ...

Lauren's mom (Rachel Hunter) is a police officer with homicide, and she stumbles upon a body of a member of the city council who had something to do with the building-in-question's rezoning. And when she figures out who has murdered her, she rushes to the building her daughter is held at ...

Somehow, Lauren has in the meantime managed to free herself, and when trying to escape, she runs into her mother - who uses Lauren as bait to lure out and shoot the psychopath ... but not before he has given Lauren some more information, that it was her own mother who covered up Tyler's fraudulent behaviour and that she now had to shoot him to save her own hide - which is why she used her daughter as bait to begin with.

Tyler did not make it out of the ordeal alive, and while Lauren did, she will be emotionally scarred for life and never be able to trust her mother again.


By-the-numbers psychothriller with torture porn tendencies that tries to hide its directorial lack of inventiveness behind a premise that seems to be "ripped from the headlines" and thus throws words like the financial meltdown and the mortgage crisis into the mix - which actually doesn't help the film much on an emotional level, as even though we hear about these things on the news every day these days, they remain somewhat abstract, and the explanations of Michael Madsen's madman are too convoluted to actually work and seem a bit weak and vague as the character's motive for torturing people.

All that said, the film is far from being the worst thing I've ever seen, and thank God it apart from a short sequence at the beginning at least stays clear from the shaky handcamera style of filmmaking the pure presence of a documentary filmmaker alone might suggest - but being just ok and not featuring shaky handcameras is not nearly enough reason to watch a film, right?


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