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Movie Moxie’s Horror Closet presents The Veil

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Review By: Alicia Glass

Studio: Blumhouse Productions

MPAA Rating: R

Director: Phil Joanou

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Twenty years after the fact, the lone survivor of a cult suicide massacre returns to the scene of the crime with a film crew, for answers.

You really can’t be sure what to expect, even reading the synopsis and knowing who’s going to be in the film before watching it. Jessica Alba as Maggie Price, leader of the documentary crew returning to the site of the Heaven’s Veil compound, is no stranger to attempting odd horror flicks, as she did with The Eye and Awake. Lily Rabe as cult survivor aptly named Sarah Hope is also versed in horror, and she does a perfectly serviceable job as the chosen one of the movie. The rest of the cast that rounds out the camera crew are more or less completely normal, generally wanting to get the hell out of dodge as soon as the extra-creepy stuff starts happening. Perhaps the oddest choice for casting is Thomas Jane as the Jim-Jones-like cult leader, oh-so-originally named Jim Jacobs. Jane ends up looking like Jim Morrison would if he had found spirituality on the heels of alcoholism: all riotous hair, messiah whites, many necklaces, and tons of “I’m so wasted” cult followers.

So some 20-odd years ago, Jim convinced the entire Heaven’s Veil community to take the sugar cubes laced with some serious poison, and shock and surprise, everyone died. Everyone except one little scarred girl the cops and FBI found, coining her Sarah Hope as she couldn’t even recall her name. Now Maggie, who turns out to be the daughter of FBI Agent Price who was first on the scene of the Heaven’s Veil massacre, wants to revisit the old compound and find the ancient VHS tapes to learn what the hell Jim was attempting to do! The ruins are still standing, and across the river past the main house compound is Jim’s private residence, where indeed, the missing tapes are discovered. The camera crew sets up to record various parts of the house, and watch and digitize the VHS tapes, basically becoming their own watered-down version of Ghost Hunters. Because the spirit of Jim and his closest followers are still very much alive, and the house and surrounding grounds is the staging area for the biggest event of Jim, and even Sarah’s, lives!

Trying to understand the stuff Jim spouts as he rants in ecclesiastical fury about removing the nails that bind the spirit to the flesh to his congregation, makes about as much sense as any other spiritual whackjob you’ll find today, except for one thing. The compound and houses of the Heaven’s Veil cult really is haunted, and it looks like Jim and company just need two things to further the next stage of their psycho take-over-the-world plan. One is a catalyst, present in the returned form of Sarah herself, and the other, well. Rather powerful bent on world-conquering poltergeists need new bodies to inhabit, and oh look, here’s a whole unaware film crew, just waiting to be consumed and repurposed.

The haunted house and grounds concept comes over fairly well, as does the mood music to help heighten the tension. While the idea that a group of terrorizing ghosts led by their enigmatic and definitely psychotic leader will go out into the world to feed like demonic poltergeisty vampires on the living can work, the mind of their leader might have been a little too crazy for even the audience to understand. It takes a bit away from the good haunting vibe the film boasts.

You can get haunted by The Veil on Netflix right now!

 

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Caesar’s Reign Comes To The Big Screen With New Trailer For Kingdom Of The Planet Of The Apes

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Director Wes Ball breathes new life into the global, epic franchise set several generations in the future following Caesar’s reign, in which apes are the dominant species living harmoniously and humans have been reduced to living in the shadows. As a new tyrannical ape leader builds his empire, one young ape undertakes a harrowing journey that will cause him to question all that he has known about the past and to make choices that will define a future for apes and humans alike. “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” is directed by Wes Ball (the “Maze Runner” trilogy) and stars Owen Teague (“IT”), Freya Allan (“The Witcher”), Kevin Durand (“Locke & Key”), Peter Macon (“Shameless”), and William H. Macy (“Fargo”). The screenplay is by Josh Friedman (“War of the Worlds”) and Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver (“Avatar: The Way of Water”) and Patrick Aison (“Prey”), based on characters created by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver, and the producers are Wes Ball, Joe Hartwick, Jr., p.g.a. (“The Maze Runner”), Rick Jaffa, p.g.a., Amanda Silver, p.g.a., Jason Reed, p.g.a. (“Mulan”), with Peter Chernin (the “Planet of the Apes” trilogy) and Jenno Topping (“Ford v. Ferrari”) serving as executive producers.

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Masterchef Is Back! For Halo Season 2

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A quick recap – Halo is set in a war-torn 26th century, where humanity led by the United Nations Space Command or UNSC and their supersoldiers known as Spartans, fights against the onslaught of the alien conglomerate known as the Covenant. The full dust-up of Halo Season 1, can be found here. Onward into the introduction of Halo Season 2!

It’s been six months since the forced separation of Spartan Masterchief John (Pablo Schreiber) and Cortana (Jen Taylor), and the Silver Team has been sent on a mission to evacuate residents of the planet Sanctuary before the Covenant glasses the whole thing. This comes with its own set of challenges, given the resistance of the planet’s inhabitants, and it doesn’t help that Masterchef starts seeing things right in the middle of trying to save some marines. Or is he? Those energy swords the squad of Elites were carrying looked worryingly real.

Back on Reach, the Silver Team is entirely dismayed to learn they have a brand new Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) representative come in as the new boss, to finally replace the traitorous Halsey, James Ackerson (Joseph Morgan). And of course, Ackerson manages to immediately get under Masterchief’s skin, by not only expressing far too much interest in John’s relationship with Cortana but also apparently disbelieving of John’s report of his encounters on Sanctuary. That just means Masterchief has to go around, if not entirely over, Ackerson’s head.

Elsewhere, Soren (Bokeem Woodbine) is trolling the slave markets in his boredom, only to stumble across a soon-to-be indentured servant who claims he knows the whereabouts of the UNSC’s most hunted human, Catherine Halsey (Natascha McElhone). That should bring a huge bounty, but really, Soren should’ve known better by now.

Halo Season 2 premieres Thursday, February 8th, 2024, and will continue to air every Thursday, only on Paramount+!

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Reborn as a Vending Machine I Now Wander the Dungeon’: I look forward to your next use!  

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If the title of this delightful little isekai anime entry didn’t give it all away, our nameless protagonist is a vending machine fanatic who, after being killed by a vending machine, gets reincarnated in another fantasy-style world as one! 

Japan has a tendency to give birth to all sorts of crazed fads that can last for decades, and no one does better when it comes to the vending machine industry, too. These days there are vending machines that will serve you sushi you can actually eat, hot pizza in the box, wagyu steaks, freshly popped popcorn, and a whole mind-boggling array of tasty treats, and other non-edible but still useful items! Umbrellas! Condoms! Oxygen masks, sterile bandages, shoes, and emergency clothing! Actually, far more things that we use on an everyday basis, could be considered as technically a vending machine, and the anime explores that beautifully. Into the world of vending machine fanaticism, we dive! 

So our poor protagonist never gave a name, and inevitably when he’s discovered by his first official friend the starving hunter Lammis, she dubs him “Boxxo”. Like many isekai that seem to take inspiration from video games and RPGs, Boxxo discovers he ways he can communicate, level up his existence, and even evince magic-like powers and attack and defend against monsters and enemies. Though in the beginning, and as an underlying theme throughout the show, Boxxo is primarily concerned with providing unique never-before-tasted-in-this-world food and drink to the amazed folk, human and otherwise. 

Boxxo’s prices are entirely reasonable and hey, he can even choose to give out his wares for free on occasion, so his popularity immediately skyrockets. Lammis with her awkward charm and prodigious strength blessing, introduces Boxxo to other friends of Clearflow Lake Village and associates along the way – Director Bear, an actual bear-monster who’s the head of the Hunters Association; Lammis’ friend Hulemy, the insane genius magic item engineer; the Bearcats Suco, Pell, Short and Mikenne, cheerful hunters with astronomic appetites; even suspicious Kerioyl, leader of the Menagerie of Fools party. 

The show approaches the practicality and versatility of the true vending machine with amusement, but also with the love true fans display for things they’re passionate about. Certainly, things like a brothel needing a condom vending machine exist in our world, but to toss them into a potentially more innocent other-world isekai is a welcome and often hilarious treat. The show celebrates the cheerful idiocy and devotion of the fans to their chosen fandom, in this case, yes vending machines, but also the spirit of the lonely otaku finally finding their Tribe! 

Pay your coins to watch ‘Reborn as a Vending Machine’ on Crunchyroll now! 

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