Hail there fellow film fiends! The first new post of the year, so a belated happy new year from me! Lots to look forwards to this year, not least the long anticipated reimagining of Frank Herbert’s sci-fi classic DUNE from Denis Villeneuve. The project looks very promising judging from what little has leaked online, the director looks to have lined up a top notch cast in what will be a two film adaptation of the novel, the first part of which will release in November. 
On the horror side, the genre has had an underwhelming start to the year with the BLACK CHRISTMAS remake, UNDERWATER and the latest GRUDGE entry all underperforming. Out of all these the Kristen Stewart vehicle UNDERWATER looks the most interesting, but it seems to have been withdrawn form the circuit already so I’ll have to wait for the Amazon release to review it. Shades of VHS classics like DEEPSTAR SIX and LEVIATHAN, both of which I always loved, so I’ll look forwards to that.
Looking forwards on the site, I have lots of content lined up with reviews of Brit director Richard Rowntree’s NEFARIOUS, his follow up to 2017’s understated folk horror DOGGED, 80’s retro horror HOUSE OF THE DEVIL and BEYOND THE GATES, along features on Charles Band classics like RAGEWAR and METALSTORM: THE DESTRUCTION OF JARED-SYN. Watch this space and subscribe to get new content in your inbox!

Now that I’ve whetted your appetite, feast your eyeballs on this boatload of new and upcoming I’ve sought out from the cinematic depths –

From director Stephen Gallacher, and in the tradition of HARD TARGET and THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME, comes the nail-biting crime thriller NOTHING MAN.
Available January 14 2020 on DVD and Digital, the film stars Daniel Hall as Noam, a frightened amnesiac who has taken himself away from society, living life as a homeless man. When his only friend is murdered in cold blood, Noam sets out in search of justice and truth, but at the cost of unlocking his own checkered past.

Jennifer Jordan, Ric Vince and Tony Goodall co-star in a Stephen Gallacher film, out now from High Octane Pictures.

This January, the sky opens for an almighty battle between good and evil. 
This Valentine’s Day, Cupid is shooting straight for the…heart.

Writer/director Scott Jeffrey presents the horrifying true story of Venus and Mars’s offspring.
Everyone knows the legend of Cupid.. But do they know his dark side?
After being horrendously embarrassed by the mean girls at school, Faye, a practicing witch, summons the evil Cupid to take revenge on all those who wronged her. On Valentine’s Day Cupid does in fact rise and will stop at nothing until the walls are covered in blood. The students must figure out a way to stop Cupid and undo the spell before their hearts get broken…very literally.
Georgina Jane, Bao Tieu, Michael Owusu,  Abi Casson Thompson and Sarah T. Cohen star in a Scott Jeffrey written/directed film, produced by Jeffrey and Rebecca Matthews (PET GRAVEYARD).

CUPID will be released on DVD and Digital February 11 from Uncork’d Entertainment.

From writer/director Harley Wallen, and featuring genre icons Laurene Landon (MANIAC COP) and Yan Birch (THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS), AGRAMON’S GATE premieres On Demand February 11.

A psychic reader and Medium is invited to a party. Something goes very wrong and something comes over from the other side to haunt the people from the party. They must solve the mystery before it’s too late. Agramon will not be easy to stop.
Also starring Kris Reilly, Calhoun Koenig, Harley Wallen and Kaiti Wallen, AGRAMON’S GATE will be available on digital platforms 2/11 from Midnight Releasing.

Martin Gooch’s award-winning sci-fi epic ATOMIC APOCALYPSE premieres On Demand and Disc this February from High Octane Pictures

Described by critics as both an “absolute joy” (CNN) and “eccentric & effervescent” (Projected Figures), the electrifying film is set a post-apocalyptic world where a woman fights to survive and be reunited with her family.
In Post Apocalyptic North America, one family fights for survival in this sci-i road trip of epic proportions in a nightmare world without gasoline, electricity, or humanity.

Sheltered mother Kate (Krista DeMille, Best Actress IIFA, SIFF, BSFFF) loses her injured survivalist husband Sam (Ron Roggé, 13 REASONS WHY, STRANGER THINGS) and love struck daughter Suzi (Andrea Sweeney Blanco) in a matter of days after they join handsome loner Joe (Jesus Lloveras) in search of a rumored hidden nuclear bunker full of food and medicine. Suddenly alone and lost, Kate fights to stay alive and reunite with her family. Nature will survive. Would we?

Following its world premiere screening at Sitges International Film Festival, and numerous award wins around the globe, ATOMIC APOCALYPSE comes home to digital and disc February 4.

There’s horror under the roof at this deadly domicile.
From Three Hair Production and One Chameleon Entertainment comes A PERFECT HOST releasing February 4 on DVD and Digital by Uncork’d Entertainment.

In director Chad Werner’s film, a group of friends rent an isolated lake house owned by a fitness obsessed man with mysterious intentions.
Four friends rent an isolated lake house for a weekend getaway. While the dramas of the friends’ relationships unfold, they are continually interrupted by the home’s owner: a health-obsessed bodybuilder named Tad. Throughout the group’s short stay, Tad’s seemingly affable gestures take an eerie and sinister twist, turning their dream vacation into a nightmare. Mystery entangles this tale that questions the blind acceptance of modern-day practices.

On a final note –  to any aspiring independent filmmakers, podcasters or film related writers out there out there reading this, let me know if you’d like me to publicize and/or review your projects, The Stricken Land is always happy to promote new talent and ideas! And please feel free to share this post and any others on here that you like.

Spread the Word!


A Quiet Place (2018) US Dir: John Krasinski
Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds

Several months after the world’s human population has been decimated by blind extra terrestrial creatures that hunt by sound, the Abbott family continue to survive on their isolated farm.
When their youngest son Beau is killed by one of the creatures, their congenitally deaf daughter Regan blames herself. Meanwhile their engineer father Lee (Krasinski) continues to try and upgrade a cochlear implant for Regan and figure out the creatures weakness, while making fruitless attempts to contact any survivors in the outside world. Lee’s heavily pregnant wife Evelyn (Blunt) concentrates on continuing the children’s education whilst making preparations to give birth to their fourth child…
A QUIET PLACE is a terrific achievement and has gone some way to restoring my faith that the major Hollywood studios can still produce engaging multi layered storytelling, and not just endless paint by numbers superhero franchise entries.
Developed from a spec script by Scott Woods and Bryan Fuller, that originally featured only one line of dialogue, writer/director Krasinski sensibly opts for a restrained ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ approach to what is essentially a creature feature overlaid with familial angst, the film wisely opts for a slow reveal of the creatures, and not just of their appearance but also their abilities and weaknesses. This is a firmly character driven piece that doesn’t drown the audience in flashy cgi or clunky exposition, and is all the better for it. It says a lot about how the cgi revolution has resulted in too many films prioritising spectacle over narrative that A QUIET PLACE’s old school approach to storytelling feels so refreshing.
One of the best examples of this comes from how the backstory of the aliens arrival on our planet and the subsequent breakdown of society is told subtly through glimpsed newspaper cuttings in Lee’s workshop and snippets of deftly crafted dialogue in what has to be a textbook example of world building in a film.
The performances are uniformly excellent, with real life husband and wife Krasinski and Blunt exuding a mixture of fortitude and quiet desperation in the face of their grief and their unspoken fears of what the future may hold for the family. Special mention must go to the sound design by Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van Der Ryn along with the score by Marco Beltrami taking on more significance than usual given the film’s central premise and the attendant sparseness of dialogue for extended periods of the run time.
Stripped of its sci fi trappings, the theme that lies at the heart of the film is the fear of every parent of not being able to protect their children from outside forces beyond their control. The horror genre functions best when putting our repressed fears and anxieties under the microscope, forcing them to the surface through a fantastical narrative device (in this case blind alien predators.)
A QUIET PLACE is a welcome return to old school sci-fi horror in the tradition of ALIEN and THE THING where concept, characterisation and narrative take precedence over empty spectacle (not that the film is deficient in the FX department but Krasinski as writer/director wisely keeps the creatures full reveal for the climax.) Hopefully the film’s healthy box office returns (US$332,583,447 on a bufget ofUS$17,000,00) will bode well for more thoughtful and narrative driven genre cinema of this quality.