[EXPRESSO] Black Phone (2021) | The Basement Dead

Time for some fresh meat, as this one will drop in theathers here in a week’s time, but i manage to see this earlier preview screening, and boy i’m glad i did, as i’ve heard of this movie before but kinda forgot when or if it was gonna come out in theathers here.

Based on the short story of the same name by Joe Hill, Black Phone is the new feature from Sinister ‘s (and the 2016’s Doctor Strange, as marketing makes abundantly clear) director Scott Derrickson, telling the story of a serial killer – dubbed “The Grabber” by the community – that in 1978 terrorizes a suburban town in Colorado by kidnapping children, with the sixth being the 13 yo Finny Shaw. While being imprisoned, Finny realizes that the black phone in the basement, despite having the line physically severed, acts a conduit for the Grabber’ previous victims to talk with the boy and hopefully help him escape. At the same time, Finny’s sister begins to have weird dreams, or visions..

You know when the trailer and most of the marking material makes the movie look good and “proper”, you go see it and then it’s actually quite good? Yeah, Black Phone it’s one of those.

Not only the setting it’s good, the presentation excellent at using “low budget tricks” like scenes filmed or edited to feel like era archive footage (which is not surprising given the director), all contributing to avoid the common modern mistake of “overly produced/shiny horror movies”, it’s a pretty creepy slice of that late 70s’ suburban America, with a really good atmosphere, a little bit of well integrated comedy and great characters all around, with the villain being as creepy as he looks.

Pretty good, fairly intense and quite satisfying to boot. Recommended.



Robert Eggers is back, this time not going for a psychological horror-thriller, but a way more straightforward tale of revenge, based on the legend of scandinavian prince Amleth (upon which Shakespear himself based his tragedy), here a young boy welcoming his father back, only to killed by his uncle for the throne and spouse. Amleth escapes, woving bloody vengeance.

Years pass, and as he wanders the lands as a berserker unit, he heards the name of his uncle and then concocts a plan to reach the isolated island where he scurried back some time ago, and exact his long held life-time wov made to his brutally murdered father.

And indeed brutal is the keyword here, as this movie really warrants the title of a “brutal viking epic”, as it depicts this nordic barbaric world inhabited by cruel men more akin to beasts, where pillage and murder exist on daily bases, villages hold ritual sacrifices (even human if need be) to appease their gods, mystical rites are held, witches reveal visions of inescapable fate, etc.

It’s that kind of barbarian middle ages, and The Northman sure as hell doesn’t shy away from showing raids, people being burned alive in houses (and a lot more graphic stuff), and it’s fittingly inhabited by refreshingly unapologetical, unflinchingly brutal characters that all perfectly fit in this world, as even what in other movie would be “the hero” it’s arguably even more despicable than the “villain”.

A lot of style (with Eggers’ touch easily recognizable in some weird psychedelic sequences), great characters, amazing atmosphere, superb cast and a captivating, graphic vengeance tale that enraptures from beginning to end.

It’s just hard to look away, even when a guy it’s getting an unrequested Skeletor-style “nosejob”.

To quote Nathan Explosion yet again: “Brutal”. In all the right ways.

[EXPRESSO] Stockholm (2018) | Chillin With The Captives

Stockholm 2018 poster.jpg

So, this finally arrived in ol’ Italy a week ago, let’s review it!

Very loosely based on the events of the infamous Stockholm bank robbery of 1973 (and hence on the concept of “Stockhold Syndrome” which spun from it), Robert Budreau’s movie tells the story of the bizzarre bank robbery operated by Lars Nystrom, an eccentric and quirky criminal that occupies the bank, takes some hostages, and negotiates the release of his friend Gunnar, that joins Lars as a mediator.

But as the standoff between the criminals and the police proceeds, the hostages form a bonding relationship with their captors, willing to take their sides over the police’s.

As you may expect, it’s a very romanticized take on the story, with many liberties taken (like the use of Bob Dylan songs instead of Elvis and Roberta Flack’ tracks by the strange criminal), and the oddity of the whole situation lend itself quite nicely to a crime comedy, with some decent drama and interesting execution, and likable characters.

While it’s done fairly well, well casted and acted, the idea of a movie about the Stockolm bank robbery is quite nice, it has some issues, mostly because it never fully commits to it’s stance on the matter of police abuse, despite the script being pretty clear who you’re supposed to symphatize with, but ultimately painting the picture of a complex situation, an absurd but more realistic one, which is fine, but it’s also playing a bit too safe.

For me, at least.

That and the characterization is ultimately uneven, because we get a romance between Lars and Clara, but even Gunnar is just……… kinda there for the most part, like the other hostages. Which is kinda disappointing.

Still, a more than decent movie, could have been better, but not bad at all!