The Craft Legacy (2020)

written and directed by zoe lister-jones
blumhouse productions/columbia pictures/red wagon entertainment

Man (cue ironic sound effect) is there a lot to unpack here. Less a legitimate horror picture, or even a reboot of the 1996 teen scream queen forerunner, than a thinly disguised manifesto of sorts about inclusion and acceptance, this high-school witchery drama occasionally tries a little too hard to be young, hip and NOW, but you know what? Were I a misfit teen I’d probably be able to look past its afterschool-special veneer, its glossy luster and its sanded-down edges to just enjoy the message lurking beneath. That not-so-subtle message is, of course, that the world ordered by traditional white men is being usurped by the rainbow coalition. And I say, even as a no-longer-young white male, just go right ahead and strictly populate every movie from now on with nothing but mixed races and every nonconforming gender variant you can goddamn conjure up, maybe all the reactionary bigots and proud boys will have brain hemorrhages from the bile backing up as their outrage boils. Can’t happen soon enough.

why did i watch this movie?

I read a gushing review and was all like, wait, they remade THAT?
(Saw the original in the theater.)
(Yep, it’s another one of those.)


should you watch this movie?

Those that cower in mortal fear of the woke brigades should steer clear. And there isn’t even any overt BLM messaging!

highlight and low point

This is the second flick featuring a trans girl I’ve seen in five months; in the first she’s a vampire and here she’s a witch. I’ll give you the following million-dollar idea for free: A slasher movie where the trans character breaks the usual archetype. You’re welcome. (At least thank me in the credits.)

rating from outer space: B−

Bit (2019)

written and directed by brad michael elmore
provocator/thirty 06 productions

So, the general premise here – young person seeking definition finds group of vampire peers – may not sound very fresh and exciting, but … the hook is that the young person is transgender, and the vampires are militant feminist lesbians. Hey, you got your polemics in my genre picture! (Men in particular take it on the chin here.) And I almost skipped over it just because that description sounds like a bit of a forced narrative. As I’m a cis male, though, maybe my perspective is skewed. But I AM gonna grumble that it’s set in L.A.. How come no young person can find fulfillment in a coming-of-age tale of self-discovery set in, like, Dubuque? Or Des Moines, perfect example. Ultimately, there’s no real empowerment message here, and in fact I’d wager there’s an anti-defamation group or two out there just stewing, alongside the fundamentalists. Hell, in one reading, the transgender arc can be spun as negative . Either way, the conversation happened, ya dig. This picture did remind me of The Lost Boys, though, which could be a troubling sign since I’ve never even seen it.


why did i watch this movie?

A spot of banter in the trailer.


should you watch this movie?

No fooling, if you like to debate coded messages, you could have a fun time with this one.


highlight and low point

Despite the clunky and perhaps cliché setup, and pointedly misandrist diatribes notwithstanding, the LGBTQIA+ bent didn’t strike me as a contrivance … because it isn’t presented as such. That the embodiment of the central metaphor is allowed to have personality flaws instead of bearing the standard of wishcasting idealism is instructive. Which doesn’t preclude the potential for friendly fire from obstinate axegrinders, unfortunately.

Rating from outer space: B

Fantasy Island (2020)

directed by jeff wadlow
columbia pictures/BLUMHOUSE productions

So I was doing my usual browsing for tripe when I came across this title, and thought to myself, “Well, that can’t possibly be – “

But it was, oh yes. An indefensible, uh, reimagining of the absurd escapist television drama of the late ’70s/early ’80s, which was right up there with its programming partner “The Love Boat” in terms of challenging intellectual fare. Of course, this rendition bears the Blumhouse stamp, as does the recent “Invisible Man,” which might provide a clue to the underpinnings of Jason Blum’s money-printing machine … he ain’t paying for new stories, that’s for sure. Especially here, a dumb idea that unfolds into a mishmash of stale, borrowed scenes – and let’s face it,  there couldn’t have been much hope for anything better given the source material.

Did I mention it’s a “prequel”? (!)

why did i watch this movie?

I had to make sure it wasn’t just a figment of my imagination, ironically enough.

should you watch this movie?

You know, The Hunt is yet another Blumhouse-spawned rewrite that had its debut this year. I expected a little more from a varsity letterman.

highlight and low point

I suppose the acme of this production must be how shameless it is, or perhaps the fact that the cast largely seem to be taking their jobs seriously. (The working vacation in Fiji presumably helped.) As this waste of time finally staggered to a close – it for some reason is 109 minutes long – my real-time observation was, “This is insanely idiotic.” Then, having untangled the ins and outs of just who was responsible for the whole stupid mess, the heartwarming tearjerker ending revealed the origin story of “Tattoo.”

If you don’t know what that could possibly mean, thank ye gods.

rating from outer space: F