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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

DVD Review: AAAAAH!! INDIE HORROR HITS VOL. 2 (2010)

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---------Review by contributing writer Scott Baker--------
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AAAAAH!! INDIE HORROR HITS VOL. 2
Produced by: Crypt Club Productions Inc.
Released: 2010

Back in October, I had the distinct pleasure of reviewing the first volume in this horror-hits compilation. If you didn’t catch the review, click here. But if you did get a chance to read it, you might remember that I enjoyed Volume 1 immensely.

To be honest, though, I didn’t enjoy Volume II as much as the first, but it is still really good and definitely worth watching. My only reservation about Volume II is that it had a couple of films that did not really engage me. For example, Hell’s Habit is a short that is filmed in black and white with no sound and uses subtitles to convey the dialogue. I respect the vintage aspect of this one, but did not find it entertaining at all for some reason.

Another short titled Out of the Darkness makes no sense to me. It basically entails a man fighting with his pregnant wife and then storming off to drink and drive. After an insinuated wreck, he awakens in a strange woman’s home and then basically has an affair with her. We find out at the end that he actually died in the wreck. Although it is shot well, the confusing storyline threw me off.

BUT…with those negatives aside, there are three true gems in this compilation, three films that I absolutely LOVE. First is a short titled The Room. This one starts off as a woman imprisoned in a room for an unknown reason, but quickly escalates into much, much more. I love this one because it’s NOT what you expect it to be. And the chilling ending leaves you with a feeling of dread…for her AND the rest of the world.

Second is The Strain, a short that details a man’s trials as he succumbs to a strange virus that causes genetic mutations. The man’s wife is forced to watch as her husband slowly changes and eventually has to survive the end result. The suspense in this one really got me. I found myself wringing my hands at certain scenes, urging her verbally to ‘get a move on!’ My reaction is a true testament to how well The Strain is done.

And finally, my third favorite out of the whole bunch is Trick or Treat. This bizarre horror-dark-comedy is pretty short in length, but very impactful. It follows a young woman who opens her door to a trick-or-treater on the night after Halloween and the hellacious chaos that ensues afterward. The costumed kid in Trick or Treat is one of THE CREEPIEST characters I’ve seen in a long time. Part of the creepy factor is that you never see his face…but the ending and what he does will literally make you cringe!

I have to give the short film Gnaw an honorable mention too, because I sure do love a good zombie flick. Gnaw is intense and has a great ending. My only complaint is that we never get to see any of the living dead! I would attribute this to a low budget, and if that’s the case, the production team does a masterful job of building suspense without the visual elements.

The coolest thing about a collection of short films is that you never know what you’re going to get. Sure, the DVD cover will usually tell you the titles of each film and maybe a one sentence description. But that doesn’t describe much about what the films are going to show you.

All of the films I’ve watched in both volumes of the AAAAAH!! INDIE HORROR HITS series have been well done and worthy of praise on a production level. The acting is tight, the special effects are (for the most part) top notch, and the cinematography is some of the best around. I would dare say that many of these directors and DPs could compete with some of Hollywood’s biggest names at this very moment.

The folks at Crypt Club have a great resource in bringing on these unique talents and I tip my hat to them for doing so. There are not many avenues for indie filmmakers to try and make a name for themselves outside of the festival circuit, so this format is a great way for them to show what they can do. And it’s also enjoyable for us as the audience as well!

Definitely give the AAAAAH!! INDIE HORROR HITS series a look!


CLICK HERE to watch the trailer
CLICK HERE to purchase the DVD






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