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Paper Spiders

USA 2020
produced by
Ash Christian, Anne Clements, Barry Shy (executive) for Cranium Entertainment, Idiot Savant Pictures
directed by Inon Shampanier
starring Lili Taylor, Stefania LaVie Owen, Peyton List, Ian Nelson, Max Casella, David Rasche, Tom Papa, Michael Cyril Creighton, Jennifer Cody, Deanna McKinney, Hunter Foster, Susannah Berryman, Natalie Shampanier, Lori Franzese, Fiona Horrigan, Henry Koperski, Tanya Thompson, Madeleine Ince, Ash Christian, Jack E. Jones, Patrick Klein, Miguel Rodriguez, Quinn Hemphill, Mike Kowal, Enid Ryen, Melanie Brook
written by Natalie Shampanier, Inon Shampanier, music by Ariel Blumenthal

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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Two years ago, Melanie (Stefania LaVie Owen) has lost her dad, which has been a crushing loss to her, but she's 17 now and ready to move on - also literally, as she's about to graduate from high school and plans to study at USC, which is halfway cross the country. But then one day her mother Dawn (Lili Taylor) claims their neighbour Brody is stalking them, and is trying to enter the house through the roof. At first, Melanie believes her mother - but when the police come and actually find evidence to the contrary, Melanie's faith in her mum starts to crumble. Especially since mum's claims get weirder and weirder, like that Brody has smuggled bees into their house or gives her headaches using some electrical device. Melanie has to come to terms with the fact that her mum's delusional, and tries to get both their minds of things, by hooking her mum up with Howard (Tom Papa), a guy she has found on a dating site, and hooking up herself with fellow student Daniel (Ian Nelson) - but both doesn't go as planned as Howard just can't handle Dawn's craziness, and Daniel proves to be an alcoholic who can't keep his hands off other girls when drunk. Eventually, Dawn chooses to move into her car to "keep Melanie safe", and after she and Melanie have a fall-out, she even chooses to live under a bridge, claiming it's the only place she's safe from Brody. But after some time apart, Dawn shows up for Melanie's graduation ceremony - which goes very well, until mum spots someone on the school's roof ...

 

A very touching movie about (living with) mental illness that's quite so effective because it doesn't try to hammer its message home with a sledgehammer, instead goes the subtle approach and packs its subject matter into an engaging story that also has touches of romance, coming-of-age story, and even traces of comedy. And a very solid cast really bring their characters to life and make them relatable, while a suitably unexcited directorial effort gives them and the story the necessary air to breathe. And what's perhaps most important, despite the film's very serious topic it stays entertaining throughout thanks to a certain lightness in the script as well as a good structure and a brisk enough narrative pace, all of which makes this a pretty good watch.

 

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Robots and rats,
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

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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
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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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
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

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

out now on DVD