FILM REVIEW: BEYOND THE VALLEY OF BELIEF

By Amy Mead

Beyond the Valley of Belief

Beyond The Valley Of Belief: Real or Unreal Vol. 1


Directed by Brian Papandrea

Written by Brain Papandrea, Nathan Rumler and Brian Kilby

Starring Brian Papandrea, Brian Kilby, Nathan Rumler, Sadie Tate, James Bell and Adam Lorenz


Rock Bottom Video has got to be one of my favorite indie production companies around right now. Having been a huge fan of their other films, Fangboner, and the Big F, I was very pleased to find out that The Rock Bottom Video boys were  back at it with yet another contribution to the indie film world. And what a contribution it is.

Their latest effort, BEYOND THE VALLEY OF BELIEF: Real or Unreal Vol. 1, is a highly entertaining parody of the old television series Beyond Belief: Fact of Fiction. For those of you that don’t know, the show ran from 1997-2002 and would present the audience with a series of  weird, outlandish, and creepy tales that the viewer would try to determine if they were true or false. The show host, Jonathan Frakes, would then do a reveal at the end of each episode.

What the gang over at Rock Bottom Videos have given us with Beyond the Valley of Belief is something similar in that it follows the format in that respect. But that is where any similarities end. The content presented is unlike anything you’d ever see on the actual show. And it is fucking hilarious.

Our host, Jonathan Fritz (Brian Papandrea) presents us with five stories that include a scarecrow man, haunted bicycles, possessed toys, vampire cannibals, farting ghosts, and an evil witch, while simultaneously losing his battle with alcoholism and continued sobriety in a special live Halloween episode.

There are five segments, complete with commercials, and while not all of them are not all equally entertaining, they are all extremely amusing. I found it to be quite a challenge  to stop laughing,especially at the commercials (which are sure to delight fans of their other films). And some of the stories had me rolling. My stomach hurt after watching this film. 

Director Brain Papandrea has done a great job with the films micro-budget. The film seems to carry itself along on its own momentum, almost seamlessly. And as usual, Brian Kilby kills it with the camera work and lighting. 

Starring the usual cast of Rock Bottoms other productions, the acting in this film was beyond hilarious. Brain Papandrea, Brian Kilby, Nathan Rumler and Sadie Tate are all back in new roles, and they are nothing short of fantastic in them. That being said, I have to say the stand out performance here for me is Brian Papandrea. His portrayal as a witch is one of the greatest things I have ever seen in an indie film. 

I like a little comedy mixed in with my horror and I truly cannot recommend this film enough. It’s campy, fun, and even a little bit bloody. Grab yourself a copy and see for yourself. And while you’re at it, check out the other films they have to offer. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

 

FILM REVIEW: THE HALLOW (2015)

hallow

By Nick Durham

After years of scouring Netflix for any kind of horror films that manage to catch my eye that I haven’t already seen, any time anything (and I mean anything at all) new gets added I almost automatically watch it, regardless if I have any knowledge of the film at all. The Hallow is one such film, of which I personally had not heard much of before seeing it recommended to me. After reading the brief synopsis of the film, I decided to say fuck it and give it a look. The end result of The Hallow is half creature-feature, and half surprisingly good chiller that shockingly even has a little bit of fairy tale elements to it as well.

 

The story of The Hallow revolves around married couple Adam (Joseph Mawle) and Claire (Bojana Novakovic) who, along with their baby son Finn, travel to a remote Irish village from Britain. Adam is a conservationist and the family is happy, but it doesn’t take long for some very unsettling things to happen to our happy family, and it appears that there is something very unhappy living in the large wooded area surrounding the village. What unfolds next is a series of jump scares and some actual genuine frights, along with revelations that are also a mix of things you’ll see coming a mile away, and some genuine surprises. Game of Thrones vet Michael McElhatton (he played Roose Bolton on the show) is here as well to offer up some scowls and give exposition when needed as well.

 

For most of its running time, The Hallow has an almost split tone between standard horror fare and almost a darker fairy tale. In that regard alone, the film is quite interesting on its own, but there isn’t enough substance here I’m afraid to make it any more than a relatively average chiller. The movie itself doesn’t really do anything wrong: the cast is pretty good, the film’s monsters are inventive, the atmosphere is creepy, and the film’s ending is fucking wonderful. Everything in between all that though? It’s nothing you haven’t seen before, and at its heart, the film is an environmental horror flick that ends up being fairly predictable.

 

Flaws aside, The Hallow is a fairly enjoyable and technically well-assembled chiller that is a pretty nice diversion. Predictability and flaws aside, there is a lot to admire here with what the film offers, which is already more than what you get most of the time with flicks of this type. It’s still streaming on Netflix, check it out while you can if you have an hour and a half to kill.

 

Rating: 3.5/5