Zack Snyder unleashes wild zombie chaos in Netflix’s much anticipated Army of the Dead, a certain Marvel villain gets his very own show, a pair of kids take control of a demonic monster, and more this week
‘Army of the Dead’ (Netflix)
Zack Snyder’s second film of the year is a welcome return to the world of zombie apocalypses for the filmmaker, who first made a splash on the movie scene with his 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead. Snyder acts as his own cinematographer for this film, so prepare yourself for what’s likely to be a large amount of his signature slow-motion, Renaissance painting-like shots of badass action.
Army of the Dead is the story of a group of mercenaries who plot a heist in a zombie-ravaged Las Vegas, and it stars Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Omari Hardwick, Ana de la Reguera, Theo Rossi, Matthias Schweighöfer, and more. The film has already kicked off a prequel film that focuses on Schweighöfer’s character, as well as an anime-style series.
‘Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K.’ (Hulu)
Marvel supervillain M.O.D.O.K. (Mechanized Organism Designed Only for Killing) is one of the more bizarre-looking characters from the comic books’ vast universe. With his freakishly massive head, tiny body, and hoverchair that provides him mobility, M.O.D.O.K. has been a constant foe for both superheroes and other supervillains, constantly thinking himself superior to all others.
While he hasn’t received the big screen treatment yet in the MCU, creative duo Jason Blum and Patton Oswalt have given the character his own series for Hulu. Brought to life with stop-motion animation (from Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, the team that does Robot Chicken), the series embraces the ridiculousness of M.O.D.O.K. by presenting him as a failure of a supervillain that’s in the midst of a mid-life crisis. Oswalt also voices the character, who is forced to spend more time with his family and he’s kicked out of leading his evil organization.
‘Psycho Goreman’ (Shudder)
There’s no description that could really do justice to the campy, B-movie fun of Psycho Goreman, the latest film from writer and director Steve Kostanski. Somewhere between a feature-length Adult Swim sketch, an earnest family movie with people in rubber suits and masks playing space monsters, and sudden blasts of graphic violence, Psycho Goreman was basically made with cult status in mind.
The film follows the titular alien overlord (played by Matthew Ninaber and voiced by Steven Vlahos) as he’s accidentally resurrected by a young brother and sister (Nita-Josee Hanna and Owen Myre). PG may have plans of universal conquest, but the two kids possess the gem that controls him, and force the galaxy’s most powerful ancient evil to play childish games with them instead.
‘Riders of Justice’ (VOD)
Riders of Justice follows recently-deployed soldier Markus (Mads Mikkelsen), who is forced to return home to care for his teenage daughter, Mathilde (Andrea Heick Gadeberg), after his wife is killed in a tragic train accident. But when a survivor of the wrecked train surfaces claiming foul play, Markus begins to suspect his wife was murdered and embarks on a mission to find those responsible.
The film is a Danish black comedy, and star Mads Mikkelsen is recently coming off an Oscar win for Another Round, which took home the prize for Best International Film. Funny enough, Riders of Justice actually beat out Another Round’s box office record for opening weekend of the year when it was released in Denmark.
Sleight is part superhero movie and part coming-of-age drama about a young teen named Bo Wolfe (Jacob Latimore). Bo is exceptionally smart, excelling at school in science and engineering and using his talents to also perform as a street magician. But this all comes crashing down when Bo’s parents suddenly pass away, leaving him as the sole caretaker of his little sister, Tina (Storm Reid).
Bo is forced into selling drugs to support both himself and Tina, but when he gets in too deep, Tina is kidnapped and it’s up to Bo and his skills to find her. Sleight subverts the genre and narrative tropes of what’s come before to deliver something unique and imaginative, and its strong cast is destined for stardom.
‘American Mary’ (Shudder)
Canadian filmmakers The Soska Sisters have earned a reputation for visceral and impressively practical body horror movies, such as Dead Hooker in a Trunk, See No Evil 2, and Rabid. Their 2012 hit American Mary follows a medical student named Mary Mason (played by scream queen Katharine Isabelle) who is hurled into the world of extreme body modification.
Mary is in desperate need of funds due to a pileup of financial troubles, and she finds easy enough money performing extensive – and illegal – body modification surgeries for a litany of eccentric clients. The film offers plenty of shocking and gory visuals to impress (and gross out) even the most seasoned horror fan, and its pitch black sense of humor is just the icing on the bloody cake.
David Ayer is a Hollywood staple when it comes to action films. He first made a name for himself in the early 2000s by writing films that include Training Day, The Fast and the Furious, and S.W.A.T., before beginning to direct as well in the 2010s with End of Watch, Suicide Squad, and Bright. His 2014 film Sabotage, about a group of DEA agents hunted down by the cartel – was very much in his action-packed wheelhouse.
Sabotage came out right at the height of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s comeback as an actor, and the film unveils itself to be just as much of a mystery thriller as it is an action flick. Schwarzenegger leads the DEA team in question, who paint a target on themselves when they raid a safe house and steal millions of dollars for themselves. Needless to say, nobody on the team can be fully trusted.
‘Black Roses’ (Shudder)
Naturally, we at Knotfest know that metal and horror go hand in hand, and filmmaker John Fasano certainly seemed to understand that perfectly. He helmed many horror classics like Zombie Nightmare, Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare, as well as writing for massive blockbusters like Die Hard With a Vengeance and others.
1988’s Black Roses takes the Satanic panic and other backlash against heavy music to a witty and literal place – the movie is about demons literally posing as a metal band in order to hypnotize a small town. The film’s soundtrack features several bands from the late 80s, including King Cobra, Tempest, Hallow’s Eve, Lizzy Borden, and Bang Tango.
‘Red Dawn’ (Hulu)
1984’s Red Dawn was released in the midst of the Cold War, and channeled the fears and fantasies of Americans who feared a conflict with the Soviet Union. The film followed a group of high school students who are thrown into the middle of a Soviet invasion in their town, engaging in guerilla warfare and dubbing themselves the Wolverines after their school mascot.
This 2012 remake remains largely the exact same, only updated to modern times and changing the invaders to North Korea. The new cast includes Chris Hemsworth, Josh Peck, Josh Hutcherson, Adrianne Palicki, Isabel Lucas, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan.
‘Time Lapse’ (Shudder)
2014’s Time Lapse is one of those films that does more with less, using its small budget to make the most out of its singular location and premise. And it’s a doozy of a concept. The film follows a group of close friends who discover a strange device that takes mysterious photos. The photos appear to be exactly 24 hours in the future, and the gang finds ways to use to make themselves some much-needed cash.
However, continuing to use the machine begins to create time loops and paradoxes, and the group realizes that they must make sure that the events of the photo come true, no matter what they may be. Time Lapse is clever and complex in all the most mind-bending ways.
CONTINUED WEEKLY EPISODES:
‘Star Wars: The Bad Batch’ (Disney+)
The Bad Batch is the latest of Star Wars’ various animated series, and the first to premiere on Disney+. Originally introduced in the prior series, The Clone Wars, the Bad Batch are a squad of clone troopers that had genetic mutations occur during the cloning process. This has given them unique abilities that other clones do not, and together they form an elite squadron to battle on the front lines of the war.
The series begins with the squad dealing with the galaxy-shattering events of Order 66 and the end of the Clone Wars. It will certainly be interesting to see what happened to the clone army in between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, and the series also introduces a new female clone named Omega (Michelle Ang) who joins the Bad Batch on their missions.
Also streaming now:
Netflix – ‘Small Town Crime’
Hulu – ‘Cowboys’, ‘The Mountain Between Us’
Shudder – ‘Found’, ‘Def by Temptation’
HBO Max – ‘The Personal History of David Copperfield’
COMING THIS WEEK:
Netflix – ‘Home’, ‘American Woman’, ‘Ghost Lab’, ‘Nail Bomber: Manhunt’, ‘Eden’, ‘Ragnarok (Season 2), ‘Lucifer (Season 5B)’
Hulu – ‘Neat: The Story of Bourbon’, ‘Plan B’, ‘The Vigil’
Shudder – ‘Skull: The Mask’, ‘Werewolf’, ‘The Machine’, ‘The Windmill’
HBO Max – ‘Cinderella Man’
Disney+ – ‘Cruella’