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A Stranger Among the Living

USA 2020
produced by
Chris Moore for CWM Entertainment
directed by Chris Moore
starring Jake Milton, Keni Bounds, Chris Moore, Victoria Posey, Eric Riggs, Cheryl Abernathy, George Mayronne, Will Lovorn, Dustin Barron, Meredith Mohler, Shari Plumlee, Mandy Meyer, Samuel Reece, J.C. Patterson, Claire Mayronne, James Anderson, Courtney Middleton, Mandy Kate Myers, David Wozniak, Denise Halbach, Wayne Thomas, Ava Grady, Jess Burns
written by Chris Moore, music by Luke Zwelsky

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Henry (Jake Milton) has a dream which he, shall we say, doesn't enjoy very much. It starts with him  and his friends and colleagues Jessica (Keni Bounds), Bobby (Eric Riggs) and Ginny (Cheryl Abernathy) being on a road trip, when suddenly Ginny starts bleeding all over. They rush her to the hospital, but the hospital looks like the school they work in, and there are dead bodies all over ...

Later that day, at school, Henry is made aware of Mitchell (Will Lovorn), who has put a "manifest" on the internet in which he threatens to kill everybody - but when Henry gets into Bobby's office, who just happens to be the prinipal, Bobby plays it down as he knows Mitchell's parents, and Mitchell claims it was just a joke. A few days later, Henry and Jessica have lunch when Ginny calls - and is shot dead while on video chat with them. Turns out Mitchell wasn't joking after all, and has taken out quite a few students and teachers, just like promised in the manifest. And Henry and Jessica have really only escaped certain death because they swapped shifts with Ginny and Bobby.

After this, everything changes for Henry and Jessica, not only because of their loss, but also as because reporters are hounding them. But after a while, they begin "seeing people", creepy people that shouldn't be there. They chalk it up to guilt at first, and Jessica even hauls Henry to a self-help group, where Henry actually makes a friend, extrovert Jarvis (Christopher Wesley Moore). But eventually, these visions turn to reality, as it seems the morgue is missing a few corpses, and then out of the blue Jessica is attacked by her loving husband (George Mayronne) and she has to stab him multiple times to ward him off (and kill him). But when Henry comes to support her, the husband comes back to life and kills her - and suddenly, Henry finds himself on the run from them both. But since everywhere he turns to he seems to run into more dead people walking, he soon has nowhere else to turn to ...

 

Now one thing up front, if you need to have your movies based on logic and need to have everything explained away or at least a proper resolution in the end, then this film is not for you. Actually, despite some quite gory scenes, this is actually more of a mood piece, a film one may interpret as an allegoric guilt trip or a nightmare with no waking up, rather than your standard horror fare - and in that sense (though not necessarily in style), this film has much in common with the classic Carnival of Souls, inasmuch as both films live a life they're not supposed to live and are caught up by the past in the end (in a very different manner though). And a well-structured script and deliberately slow pace with all the suspense and jump scares in the right places really help bring this along, while a strong cast doesn't hurt one bit either of course.

Now I might also warn you here, this is a bit of a (intentionally) depressing movie, so don't watch if in a bad mood, it will do nothing to lift your spirits - but that said, in the right frame of mind it's well worth a watch!

 

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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
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

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