Dual (2022) – Deadpan Double

Seen at the Sydney Underground Film Festival

One of the most fascinating kinds of film is the twin film, a movie where one actor is tasked with playing 2 or more roles. There’s always just something exciting about seeing one actor trying to give off performances that are distinct enough that we can tell who is who while also looking identical. This is the kind of thing that’s been done for years, like any time they revive The Parent Trap or in something as recent as this year’s Samaritan where there needed to be two versions of Stallone in order to pull off the dramatic twist in the final act. It’s a great tool that, if used well, can make for something genuinely amazing… or at very least it can be a great display for the actor taking on the multiple roles.

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Swallowed (2022) – Slimy Yet Satisfying

Seen at the Sydney Underground Film Festival

Swallowed Info

When it comes to queer representation in cinema, we’ve come pretty far in recent years by having some pretty mainstream movies throw in some form of representation. Sure it’s been minimal, like the 3-second lesbian kiss in Lightyear that sent everyone insane for a month or when a rock monster was revealed to have two dads but still, it happened. It’s fun to see gay characters popping up and more queer storylines in general… even when they turn up in dark horror/thrillers about drug trafficking, still fun to see.

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Cult Hero (2022) – Worshippable

Seen at the Sydney Underground Film Festival

Cult Hero Info

The world of religion is a wild place even at the best of times, but when religion is at its worst you get a cult. Cults come in all shapes and sizes, from small things like Heaven’s Gate to seemingly large abusive groups like Scientology and they all just pull people into their web and ruin their lives in some way. Sometimes when someone is in a cult you might need to hire someone known as a deprogrammer who will do what they can to pull your loved one out of this toxic environment… and naturally a situation that’s this intense and fraught with danger is just perfect to be the foundation for a comedic action film.

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Bodies Bodies Bodies (2022) – Dead Funny

Seen at the Sydney Underground Film Festival

Bodies Bodies Bodies Info

Every now and then, a horror film will come along and decide to basically just roast the current generation and all their eccentricities. Usually, it’ll do this by having a bunch of characters that are stereotypes from that specific era and then pick them off one by one, it’s effective and it works pretty well. The 90s were perfect for this, notably with films like Scream and Urban Legends that filled their films with irony poisoned teens and made fun of them while also giving us a high body count. It was only a matter of time before the current generation was going to get their own pointed ribbing by the horror genre and finally, Bodies Bodies Bodies delivers the ribbing that is well deserved with a side serving of… well, bodies.

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The Gray Man (2022) – A Cinematic Gray Area

Released: 22nd July
Seen: 24th July

The Gray Man Info

Netflix has had a pretty bad year, hell a bad few years if you really want to think about it. For starters they’re just having to deal with every studio they used to work with pulling their product and opening up their own streaming service, which they responded to by raising their prices. This is partially why the number of subscribers has fallen, though you could also blame that on things like regularly platforming transphobic comedians or their seeming lack of quality control. So maybe now is not the best time for Netflix to be ramping up their budgets and trying to pull off the 200-million dollar blockbuster epics… though if they have to do it, at least The Gray Man is enjoyable enough but they certainly can’t afford to do many more of these.

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The Black Phone (2022) – Call Me Anytime

Released: 30th June
Seen: 17th July

The Black Phone Info

In 2005 Joe Hill, son of Stephen King released a series of short stories in a book titled 20th Century Ghosts. One of the stories contained in that book was a little something called The Black Phone, a ghost story involving a basement, a boy and a phone (the plot will be detailed a later paragraph, we’ve got a formula around here and we’re sticking to it) and it had quite the impact, being the first collection of stories Joe Hill released which proved that he inherited his father’s ability to terrify.

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Blacklight (2022) – Uggh

Released: 10th February
Seen: 14th July

Blacklight Info

Liam Neeson needs to be stopped, with his latet release Blacklight he has officially worn out his charm as an action star and needs to either take a break or just stop entirely if possible. At one point he was charming as the older lead of an action film, Taken and its immediate sequels were exciting and clever enough that they worked no matter who was in them but the fact it was someone as talented and charismatic as Liam Neeson elevated it. Then he started slipping and just repeating the formula with films like Honest Thief or The Commuter, films that leaned so heavily on Liam’s charm that it was almost inevitable that we’d hit this point. The point where it’s just impossible to give a damn… even if the plot isn’t just another spin on the Taken formula, there’s no more fucks to give.

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Shattered (2022) – Cracked

Released: 9th March
Seen: 22nd June

Sometimes when trying to pick a movie to review, the choice can be made as easily as “It was a cheap purchase on Google Play and looked halfway interesting” and that’s how the movie Shattered was first chosen. On the surface it should be at least somewhat interesting, it stars terminally fascinating performer John Malkovich, incredible young superstar Cameron Monaghan and personal adored favourite Frank Grillo. That trio alone should make for a fascinating and fun movie just on pure charm factor alone… but charm can only do so much, you still need to have story and characters and that’s kind of where Shattered starts developing some serious cracks.

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