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Closer to God

USA 2014
produced by
Billy Senese, Jeremy Childs, Jonathan Rogers, Jennifer Spriggs, Erika Senese (executive) for LC Pictures
directed by Billy Senese
starring Jeremy Childs, Shelean Newman, Shannon Hoppe, David Alford, Isaac Disney, Olivia Lyle, Jake Specki, Emily Landham, Josh Graham, John Schuck, Joshua Childs, Piper Hoppe, Anna Garges, Jeff Lewis, Skye Arnold, Flint Adam, Samantha Fisher, Cris Cunningham, Jeff Boyet, Matthew Carlton, Janet Duensing, Dean Hall, Jon Royal, May Hwen, Andy Kanies, Charity Spencer, Felix Eckhardt, Erin Ramsey, Sasha McVeigh, Linda McVeigh, Levi Montgomery, Travis J. Cole
written by Billy Senese, music by Thomas Nöla, special effects by Doug Mallette, Daryl Stamps, visual effects by Scott Brooks

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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For the first time in history, Dr Reed (Jeremy Childs) and his team have cloned a human, Elizabeth (Olivia Lyle) - and due to a leak, they have announce it publicly prematurely. Of course, that creates a massive uproar - the silent majority is atainst it because of the sounds of it rather than giving the whole affair a good think-over, a loud minority listens to (often religious) hatemongers and pickets Reed's lab, and chronically underinformed politicians cowardly follow public opinion instead of leading it ...

That's not to say Dr Reed is a saint by a longshot, his experiments aren't exactly legal, there are huge risks involved, and over the importance of his research he has pretty much neglected his wife (Shannon Hoppe) and kids. Plus he has a very dark secret called Ethan (Isaac Disney), the result of a former cloning experiment that hasn't turned out quite as fortunate - but he has still left in the care of his housekeepers (Shelean Newman, David Alford).

Eventually, the protesting crowd in front of the hospital Elizabeth is treated at is growing too large and rowdy, so Dr Reed takes her home in secret - but one of his staff passes the info on to the press, and suddenly Dr Reed sees his own premises surrounded, plus the mayor has caved in to peer pressure and orders a full-scale investigation - which almost certainly won't come up with positive results. And then there's Ethan, who has over the years turned into a malformed lethal monster - and now he has finally escaped his cage to go on a rampage ...


Now there are no two ways about it, some of Closer to God resembles the classic baby-shocker It's Alive, and not only in writing, but taking everything into account, the film is actually closer (at least in premise) to Mary W. Shelley's Frankenstein - so much so that most of the key characters first names are lifted from that novel -, and what the movie does have in common with Larry Cohen's oeuvre in large actually is its political commentary and refusal to find easy answers to complicated topics, which is only commendable.

Taken by its own terms, Closer to God is very slow-burn when it comes to build-up, leaves many plot threads in the dark for the viewers to come to their own conclusions, and there aren't all that many setpieces until the finale, the audience is rather kept in suspense by events hinted at, disturbing snippets (both on the visual and the audio side) that only make sense late in the movie, and the pacing is deliberately relaxed, not only compared to other horror movies of its time - and all of this actually works for the movie as it largely appeals to the audiences intelligence rather than hormones and asks questions it refuses to answer conclusively - and that, above all else, is the true strength of this movie ...

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