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quietearth [Celluloid 01.19.09] movie review horror noir



Year: 2009
Release date: Unknown
Directors: Jon Springer
Writers: Jon Springer and Harrison Matthews
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: quietearth
Rating: 8.5 out of 10

INSTANT. HORROR. CLASSIC. Yup, I said it and I'm not taking it back. With elements of film noir, beautiful photography which lushly switches back and forth between color and B&W, and an incredible storyline The Hagstone Demon brings something totally fresh to the horror canon. What I'm wondering is why is this premiering at Troma Dance? (No offense to Troma) This should be playing Sundance! I could keep gushing, this film was that good, but let me say it reminds me of Cthulhu with its all around talent and ingenuity and a seemingly mismatched lead character who is nothing but perfect for the role.


I've often said I love it when the underdog, working with very little pulls off a genuine masterpiece, and that's the case here. While Springer may have plenty of experience DP'ing (which shines through the entire film), he clearly did quadruple duty on the film, co-writing, directing, editing, dp'ing, and producing.. And that's when you know someone has some real talent.

That brings me to the style, black and white noir set in a gothic apartment building filled with history and some sort of retention, not to mention a creepy hairless cat I'd like to use for target practice. The aura is that of a story around every corner, like the walls have their own tales to tell, and so do some of the tenants. The old man with the terrible comb over and his insistence he knows everything there is to know about the building, not to mention he says he won't leave as it's condemned with only a couple of months to live.

Our main character Douglas, an alcoholic, fits in here as he's the caretaker. Constantly bothered by the tenants, he deals with their sometimes unsanitary issues, both real and fabricated while battling his own inner demons. He still hasn't gotten over the loss of his wife by suicide. She's started appearing in the periphery as if the building has brought her back to life, and maybe it has.

The building is where the culmination of the suicide comes to it's head. Passed out on his couch he is suddenly awoken to the vision of his ghostly dead wife sitting across from him. Double checking, she's still there, then after some outside interference she's gone. With the ghostly visions, Douglas follows one of the tenents which is where a heavy part of the film noir element fits in. Is there something deadly going on with one of the tenants in the building? And what does this have to do with the tenants who start turning up dead in the hallways?

But this ultimately isn't about the perfectly chosen backdrop for the story, it's much larger then that. With hints of Rosemary's Baby, an often surreal communion with the film, and the briefest hint of dark comedy, The Hagstone Demon's production design and cast of characters bring together something so totally mesmerizing that this transcends mere horror and puts this on the level of genius. I can't say this enough, this is not just a horror film, it's one of those films you find only one copy of in the video store which completely blows you away and I HIGHLY recommend it. This will appeal to both cinephiles and horror fans alike.

On a last note, I hope someone picks this up for distribution quickly so you won't have to wait long to see it. Anchor Bay, are you listening?

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Anonymous (8 years ago) Reply

Where do we find the film?

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pat (8 years ago) Reply

i think its a good film, nothing more, nothing less but bearing great talent. with a higher budget (for higher production value and for example better titles) it would have been even better. springer is on the verge of becoming an outstanding director, but hes not quite there yet. i m looking forward to his next film(s).

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Ben Austwick (8 years ago) Reply

I like the sound of this. There isn't enough supernatural horror around these days.

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Anonymous (8 years ago) Reply

Looks really dull.

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some guy (8 years ago) Reply

Wow the aspect ratio is 1.78 : 1 tryin to be really old school huh? lol

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z (7 years ago) Reply

Where to find this movie?????

Anyone know????

How about "Scare Me" A Mark Borchardt film...


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