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Hey ho, Web-a-rinos! Jim here filling in for Nicole as they ‘Vampire proof their flat’. T+E gifted me the seventh episode of their Web of Darkness series. If you’re unfamiliar with the series, the short of it is a quick n dirty anthology set off from a horror keyphrase vice. It’s a lil’ something for everyone and with that we jump straight in with our Spoiler Free (besides a preview of each story) cha-cha!

The Man in the Mirror

I watched this episode with my ‘forever co-host’ of Streamin’ Demons, Voodoo Priestess. We see a guy, who looks like a younger Jim (which was a bit freaky….Mom, is there something you need to tell me?), having his life flipped-turned upside down, even. You see there were these playground bullies who…no..wait..that’s Fresh Prince. This guy has it far worse as his life is one sneeze away from being on Dante’s circle of ‘things that can happen’ mixed with the fantastic.

The story is a strong first offering. The rooting in reality makes this story particularly sharp. A splendid game to play, though Voodoo swears it’s “Just Jim” that fears this. Try looking at yourself in the bathroom mirror – not from a distance but close up. Get in there real good. Make sure you can make eye contact. Have a bit of a staring contest. Does it creep you out? Creeps the crap outta Jim. Now add this as a base of the ‘parts of this definitely could happen’ and mix in a dash of the other-worldly.

Note: You don’t have to read this as other-worldly. I can’t give away my actual reaction to this without spoiling the episode but think of things more metaphorically…

Web of Darkness image of a man looking at himself in the mirror as a means of confronting his image.
Web of Darkness – Man in the Mirror

Fairies Wear Boots

The next short (no pun) brings us into the wilderness. Far from COVID lies a small cabin in the woods. As we all know, nothing bad ever happens to anyone in a cabin…in the woods. I mean, the woods are a great place. Who woluldn’t want to spend time amongst bears, wildcats, leprechauns, coyotes, insects, ticks, the undead, and an occasional community of boot wearing fairies?

This episode’s entire plot: Don’t be a dick (aka Jim Breuer rule #1).

Web of Darkness picture showing an antler that was broken off of a creature. The antler is on the porch with some blood near it.
Web of Darkness – Fairies Wear Boots…

Laundry Day

I’m not sure what the official title of this short is, but ‘laundry day’ seems to fit. Picture it – a secluded and exclusive farm community that has a bunch of young kids and one creep-ass adult (read as ‘cult’). What could possible go wrong…err…possibly go wrong?

I mean…have you ever heard of a bunch of mostly white folk wearing white sheets having bad intentions? *cough* I won’t spoil this but the setup is sorta like if Arkansas and Mississippi had a baby and voted on ‘how to solve a problem’ and this movie was their PR ‘charm campaign’.

A bunch of people wearing white sheets sitting in a semi-circle being talked at by an old white dude wearing white sheets. Web of Darkness picture.
Man, don’t you hate laundry day?

Ghost Dad (no, not that one)

A middle-aged man in the grips of a fresh divorce and his kid go house hunting in a pandemic. Let’s face it. Divorce sucks. There are no winners. I think that’s the genuine horror of this short. To top it off, the dude is left to look for a new house….in Canada…in the middle of a pandemic….and the highest housing market rocket-ship known in modern history. His best-case scenario is to get killed by whatever creature is waiting for him in this house.

A middle aged man looking out a window wondering what happened to his life. Web of Darkness picture.
Not saying the housing crisis is bad in Canada, but Jim wants to know when’s the next viewing?

Mannequin (not the Andrew McCarthy movie)

Nipples. That’s the thing that Jim noticed the most about this short. The absolute lack of nipples on this mannequin. Oh and I guess it’s missing hands or something. The set-up is simple – an out with the old/in with the new approach. This could go hand-in-hand with the previous short but you know, it has no hands. Someone call Jon LaJoie!

This could be something special here – I liked where this ‘almost’ went, but they steered away from the natural ending. I’m not sure ‘why’ – was it writing? Directing? Editing? It was an old tale that is told well – mostly. It doesn’t quite fall apart – just because it isn’t the way Jim would have done it doesn’t mean it isn’t done well. Give it a whirl and see what I mean. How would you do this episode?

A woman wearing white holding up a mannequin in a dated yellow dress.
How’d they get Jim’s prom date (left) to be in a short?!

Just how many Cthulhus?

As episode seven winds down, Voodoo gave her sign of approval ‘Not bad!’. I think that sums up this episode. It was a strong offering and rather enjoyable. I’m still not entirely certain the age range for this since it runs the gambit of ‘sex tape leaks’ to ‘fairies from folk lore’. When I said ‘a lil’ bit for everyone’ I meant it. The cool thing is, if one story isn’t for you – just hit FF and hit the one that is for you.

I’m not sure if having a voice over in every episode is a mandate (please stop this…please) but if it is (please stop) then it’s forgivable for the writers to keep using that. However, I wish they found better ways to incorporate the VO work. With that said, I tried to imagine it as descriptive audio like AMI has and it helped settle things back into the story instead of removing the viewer completely from the story.

All in all, the production is a slick and well-made series. The acting is decent and can move the story forward. The design and fX work is top notch, as always. If you’re in the mood for a quick little jaunt into horror, you can do far worse than Web of Darkness. It’s a fun little joint and worth a viewing or two.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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Movies n TV

The Beach House, a Film Review

The Beach House (2019) is a body horror film directed and written by Jeffrey A. Brown starring Liana Liberato, Noah Le Gros, and Jake Weber.



The Beach House (2020) is a body horror film directed and written by Jeffrey A. Brown. This film stars Liana Liberato, Noah Le Gros, Jake Weber, and Maryann Nagel. As of this review, this film is only available on Shudder.

Desperate to rekindle their strained love, Emily (Liana Liberato) and Randall (Noah Le Gros) escape to a beach getaway. They soon learn to find that family friends of Randall’s father, Mitch (Jake Weber), and Jane (Maryann Nagel), also had a similar idea. After getting used to each other, a mysterious fog engulfs the town. Unfortunately, they realize too late the danger they find themselves in.

A woman with her mouth agape. Behind her is a dark background. Next to her reads, "The Beach House." Below is a scenic beach with a mountain in the distance.
The Beach House Alternative Cover Art

What I Like

Body horror gets under my skin, and The Beach House certainly lives up to the standard. There’s something magical about creatures terraforming your body to their preferred environment, turning humans into nothing more than conscious prisoners in their own flesh. While I wouldn’t consider this film the most traumatic or unsettling example, it utilizes wonderfully grotesque scenes.

Aside from the body horror, the film drops a few Cosmic Horror–or Lovecraftian–vibes that go together perfectly. Another favored genre of mine, this combination ensures the odds are overwhelmingly against our human leads.

Beyond the grotesque, visuals might not overwhelm but certainly succeed in their goal. Several scenes provide an intentionally tranquil experience that contrasts with the grotesques and improves their effectiveness.


In terms of performance, each actor hits their mark. While some roles require less effort, each contributes to the plot as intended. The standout performance goes to Liana Liberato’s Emily, who acts as co-lead. She simply has the most to work with and lives up to the part.

White background, rubber stamp with disclaimer pressed against the white background.
Disclaimer Kimberley Web Design

Tired Tropes and Trigger Warnings

As “body horror” should indicate, this film will hit hard for the more squeamish viewer. While horror by nature has some amount of grotesque, body horror brings that grotesque to the next level. While I don’t particularly find The Beach House hitting harder than its competition, it certainly respects its chosen genre.

Woman looks shocked or horrified. Bushes or trees make up the background.
Liana Liberato as Emily

What I Dislike or Considerations

A few scenic montages may hit or miss depending on your interpretation. While I have my own theories, that speculation goes beyond the scope of this review. Many of these scenes overlap more philosophical conversations and musings that may annoy or add layers. This strategy seems a common practice in Cosmic Horror, which forces characters to rationalize the irrational.

It’s hard for me to understand how secretive or known this event is supposed to be in the film’s world. Individuals know something outside of the town, with evidence implying governmental knowledge. This information creates a contrivance–perhaps, even a plot hole–because the characters had to reach this isolated town without any opposition.

One of the visuals didn’t exactly grab me. While I won’t go into too much detail, an effect looked too visually similar to a common animal that barely survives rain. It’s hard to be threatened by that. It also doesn’t exactly match up with some of the other visuals. Even the creatures that look similar to it still look different enough to provide a more alien assumption.

There are moments when the infected chase our main characters by crawling at them. While the context works, with injured characters helping to sell them, I can’t help but find these scenes amusing as opposed to frightening. Yes, it’s certainly visually different from the plethora of zombies out there, but it’s also less frightening than zombies that leisurely walk to their targets.

Final Thoughts

The Beach House combines cosmic and body horror to create an uncomfortable film that tests its characters. For those who enjoy these genres, it will certainly entertain you, but I doubt it will frighten you. I imagine the mood to watch it again might strike me, but I’m not entirely certain it will stand the test of time. 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

If this movie suits your fancy and you want more, Honeymoon seems an appropriate recommendation.


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Movies n TV

Every Secret Thing, a Film Review

Every Secret Thing (2014) is a crime thriller directed by Amy J. Berg and written by Nicole Holofcener, based on Laura Lippman’s novel.



Every Secret Thing (2014) is a crime thriller directed by Amy J. Berg and written by Nicole Holofcener. This R-rated film stars Diane Lane, Danielle Macdonald, Dakota Fanning, and Elizabeth Banks. Based on Laura Lippman’s novel of the same name, the film adaptation is accessible through MAX and DirecTV.

When a little girl goes missing, Nancy Porter (Elizabeth Banks) spirals into an all too familiar tale. As pressure mounts, Alice Manning (Danielle Macdonald) and Ronnie Fuller (Dakota Fanning) become the leading suspects. The strained frenemies unravel under the attention and reminders of their shared past.

Laura Lippman stands out at the top of the cover, over a black background. Every Secret Thing appearing over a pool
Every Secret Thing Book Cover

What I Like

The film unravels in a non-chronological structure but makes it easy for the viewer to follow. It helps that the age difference clearly divides the younger actors, who change actors. One casting choice resembles their older counterpart, and the acting reflects a strong direction for their shared role.

Unreliable narration remains expertly communicated with scenes that change perspectives depending on whose perspective we view them from. This choice adds a reason to view the film twice, providing extra ambiguity for some of these events.

The camera gets up close and personal to an uncomfortable degree, which almost certainly presses the actors’ performances. This choice places the viewer in the character’s perspective and limits us from others’ perspectives to add extra credence to these biases.


Every Secret Thing provides a spiraling mystery that unravels with several twists and turns. Assuming the novel provided the outline, this film executes these points and keeps a consistently engaging experience throughout the runtime.

White background, rubber stamp with disclaimer pressed against the white background.
Disclaimer Kimberley Web Design

Tired Tropes and Trigger Warnings

Child abuse and neglect remain the central plot points of Every Secret Thing. Little of this abuse appears in scenes, but there is no escaping the danger children are in throughout the film.

Self-harm and suicide are shown throughout the film (once in the case of suicide) through one specific character. It isn’t glorified or romanticized nor addressed with particular sensitivity. For those sensitive to these subjects, it might be triggering.

Racism, the assumed motive for the bi-racial victims, plays a small role in the film’s narrative. However, character motives remain more complex, but going further spoils some elements. This film decision does create the reality that bi-racial children are the victims of child neglect and abuse in the film with little additional context. It does invite uncomfortable speculation, but speculation it would be.

Sexual assault is another concern for viewers, specifically statutory rape. This issue seems particularly mismanaged, considering the survivor remains an antagonist. One can be both survivor of assault and an antagonist of a film without needing to discredit the assault. While little appears of this issue, and the manipulation angle can indicate a perspective shift, it’s hard to refute how the film wants to represent this attack.

Daughter resting on her mother's shoulder. Both are in the back of a car.
Diane Lane as Helen and Danielle Macdonald as Alice

What I Dislike

Loosely tied to the above point, one character seems mentally off and purposely so. This point doesn’t inherently create an issue, but there seems to be a choice to make this character a mastermind. Perhaps this is better addressed in the book, but the execution is far from perfect here.

A newspaper montage reveals essential information which feels oddly misplaced. Practically the entire setup for the film appears through this montage, which creates the necessity to read these headlines in the minimal time given.


As a horror, nothing but the events are haunting. Children being abused or kidnapped always haunts, but the terror of this remains secondary to the mystery. While the mystery is nice, this film won’t particularly scare the seasoned horror fan.

Final Thoughts

Every Secret Thing unravels a mystery of opportunism, selfishness, and deception. While the movie won’t haunt the viewer, it certainly unravels a mystery that shocks them. The nuanced and deceptive characters add a layer of engagement that creates a unique experience, but I doubt this movie will linger in my mind.
2.5 out of 5 stars (2.5 / 5)

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Movies n TV

Quid Pro Woe



We’ve now reached episode six of Tim Burton’s Wednesday. And after the last episode, this one did not disappoint.

We start with Wednesday attempting to contact Goody Addams. Last episode, if you’ll recall, Morticia explained the difference between a psychic dove and a raven. Since Goody Addams was the last raven psychic in the family line, it’s got to be her that trains Wednesday. 

But her seance is a failure, and Wednesday is interrupted by a magazine note shoved under the door. It says to meet someone at a crypt for answers. 

When she gets there, it turns out that her friends have put together a surprise birthday party for her. Before she can cut the cake, however, she has a vision.

Jenna Ortega in Wednesday

Goody Addams tells her that she must find a specific gate. After some investigation, Wednesday discovers it’s the gate to the old Gates house. 

Wednesday goes to investigate, but she isn’t the only one. She is nearly discovered by Mayor Walker. He is also investigating the Gates family, even though they’re all reported to be dead. He leaves a message for Sheriff Galpin and is almost immediately run over by a car.

This incident is enough to get Wednesday’s town villages revoked. Though this seems like an empty punishment since the whole school is on lockdown. Someone burned Fire Will Rain on their front lawn. 

Wednesday isn’t one for believing the rules apply to her. She has it in her head that she’s meant to save Nevermore Academy, probably from whatever descendent of Crackstone who’s still around. So she has no problem lying to Enid and Tyler and convincing them to help her sneak off campus and explore the Gates house further.

This, of course, is an incredibly informative trip. The kids find a hidden altar to Crackstone, as well as the missing body parts from the monster’s victims. They also find evidence that someone’s been staying in the house. Someone who’s staying in what looks like a little girl’s room.

Before they can find anything more, the monster finds them. They barely escape, and go to the sheriff with what they find. 


Of course, the house has been cleared out by the time Sheriff Galpin arrives. Furious that his son was almost killed, he tells Wednesday to stay away from him.

Because that always works, right?

Galpin isn’t the only one angry. Enid is fed up with the way Wednesday has been treating her. And so she leaves their room to bunk with someone else, leaving Wednesday alone. 

This episode was well done. The discoveries at the house were exciting, and I’m almost sure I know who’s behind the murders at this point. Overall, this was a good ramp-up to the season finale. 

Jenna Ortega in Wednesday.

Finally, this episode did something I was worried just wasn’t going to happen. And for that alone, it deserves praise.

Wednesday has been incredibly selfish and inconsiderate since the first episode. She’s been rude and demanding towards Thing. She’s ignored her friends’ needs and emotions while insisting they put themselves in danger for her investigation. She has respected no one’s boundaries, even while other people have at least tried to respect hers.


And now, it’s finally come back to bite her. All of the people who have been doing their best to show her kindness and support are finally done with her bullshit.

Yes, this is a good thing! Characters are best when they’re allowed to learn and grow. When they don’t come to us flawless. When they mess up and learn from it. Especially for a show aimed at kids, this is essential.

If you’d asked me at the beginning of the season if this character was going to experience honest character growth, I’d have assured you it would never happen. Much to my surprise, it’s happening. I hope that Wednesday is going to come out of this a better person. With two episodes left in the season, there’s plenty of time for that.  4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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