You don’t seem like yourself lately…

It’s a smorgasbord blog of four flicks about infected people and human hungry creatures.

THE DUSTWALKER (2019)

The Crazies meets It Follows with a dash of Under the Dome in this melancholy Australian film, which definitely delivers some chills, thrills, and surprises. However, there is an odd clash of melodramatic tone and underacting that brings down the energy level, as well as some wonky editing that effects the flow of events at times.

In a small desert town, something crashes to the earth, and then locals become infected by a red dust that causes half their face to get slightly deformed. At first they just stand outside houses and buildings staring blankly, but then they start chasing after and killing people. There are some very cool scenes of the crazies swiftly moving, crawling, and jumping.

The sheriff, her deputy, and a female scientist (best character in the film) try to make sense of it all, while also attempting to capture and lock up the crazies instead of killing them in case there’s a cure. But as they become outnumbered, they hole up in the precinct with a handful of survivors…right about the time that something comes crawling up from the ground. WHAT?

Yes, this one has an unexpected sci-fi creature feature twist, but be warned—absolutely nothing is explained at the end, leaving us with one big string of dangling plot points. I can’t imagine what was going on in the minds of the creators, because they sure didn’t tell us.

DON’T SPEAK (2020)

I have unintentionally gravitated towards films by director Scott Jeffrey in the past years (The Bad Nun, ClownDoll, Cupid), so imagine my surprise when yet another one landed in my watchlist only days after I watched ClownDoll.

I think Don’t Speak might be this prolific horror director’s tightest film yet. Reminiscent of classic creature features of the 80s and 90s, it features a traditional man in a monster costume that is much more terrifying than CGI. It also explains why we get the full monster Monty in the very first scene, because it’s that cool.

When a woman’s father falls ill, she, her husband, and their kids travel to her parents’ home to see him. But when they get there, something is very wrong.

And they soon find out in an amazing, chilling scene when the daughter first encounters the creature. From that moment on it is nonstop horror action as they are terrorized and torn apart by the creature.

Somehow the dad figures out in an instant that the creature is using sound to hunt them…which makes it that much more annoying how much the women scream when being chased! Shut the fuck up, be-otches!

There’s a vague reference to military experiments nearby to explain the creature’s existence, but the backstory is really not expounded upon. This is a movie that focuses totally on a nuclear family fighting a monster to the bitter end. There’s just one tiny detail that could have been added as to what the monster was, and I’m kind of shocked it wasn’t used as a plot twist…unless we were meant to think it anyway and the director just didn’t feel the need to spell it out.

PROJECT ITHACA (2019)

It’s…Saw on a spaceship with emotion harvesting aliens?

Project Ithaca is set mostly in a confined space where a group of random people wakes up trapped in goo and wrapped in tentacles, with no memories of how they got there. As they slowly talk it out, their individual pasts are revealed in flashbacks, and they begin to realize that the alien tentacles come out to suck on their energy when they feel emotions. Eek!

A couple of surprises are thrown in to keep things interesting, but there’s not much more to the plot than that. It’s sort of slow and struggles to unfold, but it does start to come together as it reaches its conclusion. Not to mention, the effects are excellent.

DON’T GROW UP (2015)

This infected film is more of a coming of age character study with the infected as a background element.

A small band of “delinquent” kids is suddenly faced with the horrific reality that all the adult have become violent crazies.

As the kids cope with the trauma of their troubled pasts and the unknown possibilities in their futures, they begin to bond, lean on each other for support, and explore their feelings for each other. See the irony? Don’t Grow Up is a movie about kids that don’t want to grow up because they will become monsters, yet they begin to mature as the movie progresses. Talk about a conundrum.

While there aren’t many infected in the film, and they don’t get much screen time, the attack scenes are suspenseful and violent. The limited number of infected actually creates more tension than having constant hordes of them coming at the kids, and leaves us feeling the sense of isolation and abandonment the kids must be experiencing with no adult guidance.

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at www.facebook.com/BoysBearsandScares.
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