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USA 2013
produced by
David R. Williams, Chris Gurnett for Red Scream Films, Razor Wire Alchemy, Carnivorous Numbers
directed by David R. Williams
starring Chris Phillips, Mark Levandovski, Chris Gurnett, Robert X Willis
written by David R. Williams, Chris Gurnett, music by Frederic Mauerhofer

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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For an art project, a young man (Chris Phillips) goes out into The Hollows, a wooded area that's supposed to be cursed and might have been the location of as many as 150 murders, armed only with a video camera and video glasses.

At first, everything goes really well, he finds lots of weird things in the forest he wouldn't have expected (including an old self-made oil drill) but that make great pictures, but the darker it gets, the less comfortable he feels: He hears strange noises, finds traces of violence (though perhaps only in his mind), and he can't take the feeling he's being watched. Since it's too late to go back to the car and return to civilisation now, our hero builds himself a big fire to ward off whatever it is ... but as soon as he has dozed off, the fire is extinguished, much to his terror, and now he knows something's just waiting to attack. He runs, and makes it to a house where he hopes to get help or at least a telephone - but what he finds is much more disturbing than anything he witnessed out in the forest: Weird and possibly Satanic objects, pages torn from a book of Black Magic, sacrificial knives ... and then he witnesses someone outside, a masked man - or something worse.


Shot as a found footage movie, Optica is quite certainly one of the better films of the fad, basically because it's based on a solid story arc (even if the set-up could have been cropped a little) and thus has a real mystery at its center, and it doesn't relie on all these mainstays that one has come to hate about the genre, like gross overacting of the behind-the-camera-guy, an over-reliance on shaky camerawork in place of suspense, too many cheap home-made effects (the tapping of fingers on tent-walls is my [least] favourite of those) to fake authenticity and the like, and totally outrageous ideas why these people might want to hold on their cameras. Instead, Optica relies on build-up, growing suspense and nicely set shocks, and a few really macabre twists towards the ending.

Pretty good, 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