Black Mirror Season Three Review and Analysis: Concept Over Character

Black Mirror Season Three, the first season to be produced exclusively for Netflix, exhibits a variety of achievements and missteps; and while there are some interesting concepts, its lukewarm delivery (despite one good episode and one particularly excellent episode) demonstrates that is has a ways to go to match the quality of other recent Netflix and horror/sci-fi television offerings.

Described by many as “The Twilight Zone for the tech generation,” Black Mirror dazzled British audiences in its first and second seasons, and then later picked up steam in the United States on Netflix. While loosely connected and existing in the same universe (with most episodes featuring a broken mirror or establishing shots focused on black mirror-like surfaces), each episode addresses an entirely different concept. This results in a wide spectrum of tones and atmospheres. The original episodes feature talented English actors and actresses known to American audiences, such as Hayley Atwell, Oona Chaplin, Domhnall Gleeson, and Jon Hamm, and Netflix chose to continue the tradition by hiring Alice Eve, Jerome Flynn, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Kelly Macdonald to fill important roles in the present season. Interestingly, despite featuring top talent, Black Mirror’s biggest issue so far seems to be a lack of characterization and character development. This stems from too much of a focus on the technology over the characters. read more

Executive Producer of The Exorcist Shares Insight into Season One and Beyond

Variety recently sat down with Jeremy Slater, the creator and one of the executive producers of Fox’s The Exorcist series. Slater revealed many interesting details about the creative process of making the show and explained where the series will be going in the future.

Readers who have been following Horror News Network’s reviews know that the show is surprisingly intelligent and character-driven, especially for a TV-14 network show that airs at 9:00. While the pilot episode felt a little too reliant on the source material, the episodes that have followed have proven to be thoughtfully crafted and unafraid to explore ideas and storytelling techniques which go beyond the 1973 original movie. Based on Slater’s comments, these refreshing qualities were no accident: read more

The First Trailer for the Slenderman Documentary is Here

HBO has released the first trailer for their documentary Beware the Slenderman which is set to air on the channel on January 23, 2017.

The Slenderman (or The Slender Man) is a fictional boogeyman-type character that was created in 2009 by Eric Knudsen for a contest on the internet forum Something Awful. The character is very tall and thin and wears a dark suit and has a mostly feature-less face. From Knudsen’s creation, an internet legend was born.

The Slenderman quickly went viral and numerous websites soon had fanart dedicated to the character as well as fan-fiction revolving around him…and in fiction the character remained until May of 2014 when two 12 year old Wisconsin girls stabbed a classmate 19 times and said that they did it to become servants of the Slenderman. read more

Stranger Things Adds Sean Astin, Paul Reiser, and Linnea Berthelsen to Cast for Season Two

As reported by Entertainment Weekly,  the sophomore season of Stranger Things will add a number of genre veterans to the Netflix sleeper hit.

Heading that list is Samwise Gamgee himself Sean Astin.   Co-directors Ross and Matt Duffer described Astin’s character as “a kindhearted former nerd who went to high school with Joyce (Winona Ryder) and Hopper (David Harbour) and now manages the local Hawkins RadioShack.”

Paul Reiser, who portrayed ruthless businessman Burke in Aliens, will get another chance to play a character with seemingly good intentions in the form of Dr. Owens, “a high-ranking member within the Department of Energy on a ‘clean-up’ assignment, tasked with containing the events of last year.” read more

Dr. Strange Enchants Box Office to the Tune of $85 Million

Surpassing inital industry estimates of $70 million, Dr. Strange reignited November box office receipts with an estimated $84,989 million dollar haul.

The critical and financial success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (to the envy of DC fans and Warner Brothers executives) is well established, but there is always trepidation when a new character makes the leap from a traditional four-color comic to the silver screen.  Doctor Strange, anchored by an all-star cast and lead by Benedict Cumberbatch,  proves that general audiences, hardcore fans, and critics have not had their fill of Marvel’s vast super hero universe.   read more

The Exorcist: The Series “Star of the Morning” Episode Review

Two weeks since its series-altering surprise reveal, Fox’s The Exorcist returned to television this Friday with “Star of the Morning,” an episode which solidly builds upon this new surprising development. Last episode’s review avoided spoiling the major twist to give readers time to catch up with the series, but now it’s time to dive in!

In Episode Five, it is revealed that Geena Davis’ Angela Rance is really Regan MacNeil of the original The Exorcist film. While this twist explains some things, like why Angela’s mind jumped right to “possession” as soon as things started going wrong in her house; this change to the series mid-season could end up taking away from what has been built so far if the showrunners are not careful. Based on this week’s developments, it seems like the show is looking to build directly off of the first movie… potentially ignoring the mediocre Exorcist II: The Heretic and the slightly better The Exorcist III. We learn that Regan changed her name in an attempt to start fresh after her mother, Chris MacNeil, exploited her possession story for financial gain. No one, not even her husband Henry (Alan Ruck), knew of her secret, and this naturally allows for a lot of resentment and conflict between the various characters once it is known that Angela could have potentially been a better help in curing Casey (Hannah Kasulka) had she been completely honest about all of the variables. read more

Doctor Strange Strong Out of the Gate with $32.6 Million on First Day of Release

Doctor Strange, Marvel’s first foray into the supernatural side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, opened with a robust $32.6 million on its first day of release. This total also includes $9.4 million in Thursday previews.  

As reported by Seth Kelly of Variety, the film’s estimated weekend “…would put “Doctor Strange” ahead of other Marvel film openings like “Thor” ($65.7 million) and “Ant-Man” ($57.2 million), but behind characters with higher name-recognition like 2008’s “Iron Man” ($98.6 million) and, of course, films that band together multiple heroes like “Marvel’s The Avengers” ($207.4 million). Within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “Doctor Strange” is posting numbers that most closely align with 2013’s “Thor: The Dark World” ($85.7 million). Last time this year the Bond film “Spectre” topped the box office with $70 million.” read more

Casting News for Netflix’s Stephen King Adaptation of “1922”

While Netflix is currently in production on its adaptation of the King novel ‘Gerald’s Game, The Hollywood Reporter has announced that they have also casted the lead roles for their film based on the novella 1922 from the book ‘Full Dark, No Stars’.

The casting announcement lists Thomas Jane as the lead Wilfred James and Molly Parker (The Road) as his wife Arlette. This adds to the cast that already features Dylan Schmid, Kaitlyn Bernard, Brian d’Arcy James and Neal McDonough. read more

Don’t Breathe Director, Fede Alvarez, May Direct Sony’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Followup

Variety has reported that Sony Pictures may be close to selecting Fede Alvarez, director of the Evil Dead remake and Don’t Breathe, to direct its followup to 2011’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. The film will reportedly be based on the novel, The Girl in the Spider’s Web. Based on the tremendous critical and financial success of the grisly Don’t Breathe, it isn’t surprising that Alvarez would be a top contender for taking a crack at this notoriously dark and intense series. read more

Penny Dreadful Series to Continue in Comic Book Format

Titan Comics has announced that they will be publishing a Penny Dreadful comic which is set six months after the ending of the TV show’s final season. The series will be done by Co-Executive Producer Chris King and illustrator Jesús Hervás.

The story focuses on Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett) as he struggles with the loss of Vanesa Ives (Eva Green). Before long, Ethan finds himself engaged in battle with other creatures of the night.

“There are a lot of stories left to tell, and there is no one better to tell them than Chris King,” said Penny Dreadful comic editor, Lizzie Kaye. read more