Wednesday, October 25, 2017

TONIGHT SHE COMES (2016) movie review

Tonight She Comes (2016) d. Stuertz, Matt (USA) (2nd viewing) 84 min.

Rural mailman James (Nathan Eswine), just finishing up his rounds, drops his buddy Pete (Adam Hartley) off on the side of the road to answer the call of nature while he makes one last delivery: dropping a letter off at the (wait for it) remote cabin in the woods where party girls Ashley (Larissa White) and Lindsey (Cameisha Cotton) are planning to meet their pal Kristy (Dal Nicole) for a little weekend of R&R. Unbeknownst to anyone, Kristy’s body has been tasked with hosting an unholy spirit and is now wandering the bucolic outdoors in the buff, a lethal pawn in a mystical ritual set into motion by a bizarre backwoods family (Frankie Ray, Brock Russell, Jenna McDonald).

Ladies and Gentlemen, your pizza 'n' beer flick for 2017 has arrived.

Writer/director/editor/producer/DP Stuertz appears to have made a list of everything he loves in classic '80s splatter films, rolled them up into a big gooey burrito, and slapped it onto today’s Blue Plate Special with pride. There’s a little Friday the 13th, a little Evil Dead, a little Xtro, and a whole lot of everything else, all done with so much infectious enthusiasm that it’s hard to resist. When the opening title card reads, “THIS FILM SHOULD BE PLAYED LOUD ... AS HELL,” one gets a pretty clear idea of the level of juvenile fun Stuertz is aiming for, and he hits the bulls-eye more often than not.

True, the characters and dialogue are hardly realistic, but knowingly so, and the game ensemble swings for the fences with every single cliché. (I’ve seen some online beefing about this, but for my money, Stuertz & Co. know exactly what they’re doing – i.e. embracing the artifice of what has gone before – and are doing it extremely well.) Every cast member is given a chance to shine, but it’s McDonald who leads the pack as the resourceful hillbilly priestess-in-training who ain’t taking crap from no one.

A special blood-soaked shout-out to Katherine Shae Spradley for her expertise wielding the splashy practical effects and gruesome gore galore; there is a moment late in the film that had me sitting bolt upright, cheering and asking, “Why have I never seen THAT before???” I had a lot of fun with this one, both when I first saw it at BIFFF and this most recent viewing, and I can't recommend it highly enough.

Tonight She Comes is arriving soon via streaming outlets from The Asylum (I know, I know, but don’t hold it against them) and is making select appearances this month at Cinemark Theatres. (Details HERE)

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