Book Review – Dust Devils by Jonathan Janz

Dust Devils
by Jonathan Janz
Release Date: February 4, 2014
Publisher: Samhain Publishing

Dust Devils

Just when I thought vampires were no longer scary, Samhain Publishing and author Jonathan Janz decide to prove me wrong! That’s right…you heard me. Janz’s latest novel, DUST DEVILS, reignites the terror-fueled horror sub-genre that for many decades held readers and movie-goers in the grip of fear. Thanks to TWILIGHT and other titles that turned undead bloodsuckers into wimps, I thought this was a dying subject matter (no pun intended). But authors like Janz are here to show us that vampires should be feared and for good reason!

If you are not familiar with DUST DEVILS, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Samhain Publishing:

Beware when the vampires come to town.

When traveling actors recruited his wife for a plum role, Cody Wilson had no idea they would murder her. Twelve-year-old Willet Black was just as devastated the night the fiends slaughtered everyone he loved. Now Cody and Willet are bent on revenge, but neither of them suspects what they’re really up against.

For the actors are vampires. Their thirst for human blood is insatiable. Even if word of their atrocities were to spread, it would take an army to oppose them. But it is 1885 in the wilds of New Mexico, and there is no help for Cody and Willet. The two must battle the vampires—alone—or die trying.

To be completely honest, I wasn’t looking forward to reading this book. I am a big fan of Janz after reading and reviewing SAVAGE SPECIES (click here to read that review) a few months ago, however the subject matter of DUST DEVILS simply didn’t enthrall me. This was in part due to the reason I listed above: vampires just didn’t scare me anymore. But after reading Janz’s take on the undead, I’m a believer once again…these bloodsuckers are worthy of our fear!

DUST DEVILS is written well and flows with the same rabid pace as SAVAGE SPECIES. However, this book is not as relentless; in a sense, it has a more humanistic element to it, which in turn helps to portray the vampires as even more wicked. Unlike the completely foreign creatures in SPECIES, Janz’s vamps have a bit of humanity in them (even if it is the cruel side of humanity), and it is this trait that allows the reader to relate to them better.

Don’t get me wrong: SAVAGE SPECIES is one of the best horror novels I read in 2013. But the ability to connect more with the antagonists in DUST DEVILS gave me a completely different concept of terror. This showcases Janz’s talent as a master storyteller, and it also gives us a glimpse at how diverse his ideas can be.

DUST DEVILS is another definite win for me, and I highly suggest giving it a look next week when it hits store shelves. But don’t bother carrying around a wooden stake; it won’t help you with these monsters. The book will be available in a variety of formats.

MSB

Movie Review – Escape Plan (2014)

Escape Plan
Directed by Mikael Hafstrom
Courtesy of Lionsgate
Release Date: February 4, 2014

Escape Plan

Ok, I admit it: when I first saw the trailer for ESCAPE PLAN a few months ago, I was one of the skeptics who thought it was another attempt at two aging action icons to simply get screen-time. The story itself sounded interesting…but I wasn’t so sure two actors like Stallone and Schwarzenegger could carry it. Fortunately, I was dead wrong on my assumptions. These two screen veterans help to make ESCAPE PLAN a taut and entertaining thrill-ride.

If you are not familiar with ESCAPE PLAN, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Lionsgate:

One of the world’s foremost authorities on structural security agrees to take on one last job: breaking out of an ultra-secret, high-tech facility called “The Tomb.” Deceived and wrongfully imprisoned, Ray Breslin must recruit fellow inmate Emil Rottmayer to help devise a daring, nearly impossible plan to escape the most protected and fortified prison ever built. ESCAPE PLAN is the first pairing of action legends Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger in leading roles and co-stars Jim Caviezel, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Vinnie Jones, and Vincent D’Onofrio.

If you decide to watch ESCAPE PLAN, and I recommend that you do, be sure to go into it with the right mindset. You’re not going to get Jason Bourne-like intrigue or see Donnie Yen-like action. But instead, you’ll get bare-knuckles intensity from two legendary action-actors and a slick plot with twists and turns you won’t see coming.

ESCAPE PLAN is shot well and the production value looks very high. The sets look great, particularly The Tomb itself. I am impressed with the lengths to which the production team went to make this set a viable and realistic looking prison. I could definitely see something like this being used already.

The acting is what you would expect from Stallone and Schwarzenegger, although some of their supporting cast (specifically Curtis Jackson) didn’t quite fit for me. Others helped accentuate the authenticity of a prison setting, including Faran Tahir as a foreign prisoner and Vinnie Jones as a barbaric prison guard.

The story itself, however, is the real winner here. I like the concept, right down to its core; and the twists and turns that are strewn throughout the plot only make the movie that much more enjoyable. I enjoyed the way the movie ended and feel like everyone pretty much got what they deserved.

ESCAPE PLAN is a fun and energetic film that fans of either actor or those that enjoy straight-up action flicks will enjoy. Full of wit and intensity, this movie should appeal to a variety of fans. Be sure and snag the Blu-ray if you can; aside from the superior picture and sound quality, you get some great Special Features, including a couple of cool behind-the-scenes featurettes. Give this one a look for sure.

MSB

Movie Review – Blood Was Everywhere (2011)

Blood Was Everywhere
Directed by Jason Torrey
Courtesy of Sun in 10 Productions
Release Date: 2011

blood-was-everywhere

*** Fans of this site will note this review was originally posted back in 2012. Because my blog crashed at the end of that year, and because this is such a great indie film, I am reposting this review for you.

I am so glad that independent film is still alive and well in the film industry. There’s a certain something that you can only get with an indie film, like the spark of an original vision that Hollywood is slowly losing. Such is the case with BLOOD WAS EVERYWHERE, a low-budget slasher flick that gives a jolt of new life into a very used horror genre.

If you are not familiar with BLOOD WAS EVERYWHERE, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of the film’s Facebook page:

It’s Your Neighbors.
It’s Your Friends.
It’s Your Family.
It’s You…

The nightmare of the random, unsolved murder is brought to life: A faceless killer wreaks havoc on the lives of average people in a small Massachusetts town.

The plot synopsis doesn’t divulge much about the film, but that is actually a good thing; it’s better if you go into this one NOT knowing much about it. The lack of a preconceived notion about the film will enhance your viewing pleasure.

BLOOD WAS EVERYWHERE is shot very well and the overall look of the film is great. The acting is nice too, especially for a low-budget project. I was thoroughly impressed with several performances, including those given by Phillip Ristaino, who plays Kevin, and Vanessa Leigh, who portrays Tara. A couple of movie veterans even grace the screen, including Larry Holden and Paul Kratka.

The special effects are excellent; there are some grisly, realistic death scenes in this film that will make you squirm. My favorite has to be the mom who gets her throat slashed while sitting on the toilet. My sole complaint about the effects is that I wish we got to see more of them; a higher body-count obviously means more carnage.

If I were forced to find a flaw or two with BLOOD WAS EVERYWHERE, I would have to say that the pacing is a little bit slow. There are a couple of scenes that seem to drag on for too long, although I can see that director Jason Torrey is simply attempting to build character profiles in them. Also, a higher body count would have been nice, although I don’t think I would call that a flaw, just more of a personal preference.

Still, BLOOD WAS EVERYWHERE is a great film and a hell of an indie debut. It is vastly entertaining and showcases the skills of a talented up and coming director. The film is available at the official website (click on the link above), and you can even stream it to watch it for a smaller charge. Check it out for sure.

MSB

Graphic Novel Review – Hawken: Genesis by Jeremy Barlow (2013)

Hawken: Genesis
by Jeremy Barlow
Release Date: April 9, 2013
Publisher: Archaia Entertainment

hawken-genesis-anthology-gn-cover1

I have to hand it to Archaia Entertainment: they just keep getting things right. They know what fans want and they consistently deliver. I have reviewed a couple of titles from Archaia (click here to read the review of IRON or here to read the review of WHERE’S MY SHOGGOTH?), and each one seems to top the predecessor. Full of innovative story lines and masterful artwork, Archaia is truly a force to be reckoned with in the world of comics and graphic novels. My latest foray into their catalog is no different. HAWKEN: GENESIS is a riveting science-fiction graphic novel that fans of mecha will absolutely love.

If you are not familiar with HAWKEN: GENESIS, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Archaia Entertainment:

Based on the Free-to-Play Massively-Multiplayer online shooter Hawken, this original graphic novel serves as both a prequel and sourcebook for the game world, offering players a glimpse of what came before the game, and what might come in the months ahead. Hawken: Genesis focuses on the relationship between Rion Lazlo, the man who would be king, and James Hawken, the brilliant inventor who paves the way for Lazlo’s success. What begins as a mutually beneficial partnership developing magnificent technology for the planet’s largest corporation state devolves into betrayal and conflict that soon leads to a man-made cataclysm that changes the face of the planet forever!

I’m a huge fan of mechs, especially those from the ROBOTECH and BATTLETECH eras. I hardly talk about this here because I can’t seem to find much about mechs these days. Maybe I’m not looking hard enough…I don’t know. But when I heard about the HAWKEN series, my interest was immediately piqued. And thankfully, Archaia delivers another grand slam with it.

Hawken-1

HAWKEN: GENESIS is written well and the story flows at a nice clip. Author Jeremy Barlow does a great job of piecing together the drama as it unfolds amidst the action. This balancing act is part of what makes this graphic novel so good; the story doesn’t lag and it doesn’t overwhelm you.

But the artwork is the second factor that makes this book so enjoyable. Several artists, painters, and illustrators came together to visualize the world of HAWKEN, and the result is a vibrant success. The characters and mechs look great while the landscapes and scenery mesh perfectly. This allows for complete immersion into the story and therefore gives an enjoyable reading experience.

hawken2

HAWKEN: GENESIS is a definite win for me. I highly recommend giving it a look. And be sure to continue with the comic series HAWKEN: MELEE, which is in publication now. I was fortunate enough to get a copy of the first issue, and I can say without a doubt that this is a series you don’t want to miss. Regardless of where you start, be sure and check out the world of HAWKEN soon.

MSB

Documentary Review – Murph the Protector (2014)

Murph the Protector
Directed by Scott Mactavish
Courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment
Release Date: January 7, 2014

murph

I am constantly fascinated with military stories that make headlines nowadays, especially those that involve our Special Ops forces. More awe-inspiring still are the details that usually come out after the headlines have died down. Take for example the mountainside battle that ensued on June 28, 2005 in Afghanistan. The headlines proclaimed a battle had taken place…but when the details came forward, many Americans were surprised to find out a force of four SEALs had taken on an army of Taliban. Three of the brave SEALs died, but one name in particular stood out for his actions that helped to save the fourth man. Amidst a hailstorm of gunfire, Lieutenant Michael Murphy left cover and dashed to a clearing to place a call for backup. This ultimately led to his death, but the legacy he left behind will never be forgotten. MURPH THE PROTECTOR is an in-depth documentary that reveals a hero in the making, from his birth to his death.

If you are not familiar with MURPH THE PROTECTOR, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Anchor Bay:

On June 28th, 2005, during an infamous mountainside battle with Taliban forces, Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy was killed while trying to protect his Navy SEAL team. In 2007, he was posthumously awarded the Medal Of Honor for his bravery, the first ever given for combat in Afghanistan. This powerful documentary features interviews with Lt. Murphy’s friends, family and teammates, and reveals the remarkable life of the son, brother, neighbor and warrior known to all as ‘Murph,’ a man who made the ultimate sacrifice for his country and the cause of freedom to become a true American hero. This is the story – and legacy – of “Murph: The Protector”.

I can’t put into words just how much respect I have for our military and those who serve in it to keep our country safe. Several friends of mine served, and I am proud to call them friends for doing so. These men and women, those like Lt. Murphy, deserve acclaim and respect, even though they rarely receive the accolades that they should.

MURPH THE PROTECTOR is shot well and looks great. The narrative is provided by Lt. Murphy’s family and friends as they discuss his childhood and how he grew up in New York. Even at an early age, people could see he was destined for great things. And hearing the stories of his childhood and upbringing as told by those closest to him really brings the man to life.

Lt. Murphy is one of the men portrayed in the new Mark Wahlberg film LONE SURVIVOR. Thus, this documentary is an excellent precursor to watching that film. I highly recommend giving this one a look. It is a poignant and powerful glimpse into a true American hero. The film is available now in a variety of formats.

MSB

Movie Review – True Nature (2010)

True Nature
Directed by Patrick Steele
Courtesy of Monarch Home Entertainment
Original Release Date: 2010
DVD Release Date: January 22, 2013

true nature

Regardless of how much I love zombies and creature-features, I’m still a sucker for a good supernatural thriller. I love movies with original concepts, especially when they are in the horror genre. TRUE NATURE, a 2013 release from Monarch Home Entertainment, is one of these great films. Chocked full of intensity and intrigue, this film will keep you enthralled right up to the end.

If you are not familiar with TRUE NATURE, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Monarch Home Entertainment’s website:

The Pascal family has it all– wealth, power, privilege– but their lives change forever when their daughter disappears one night while running. She mysteriously returns a year later with no memory of what happened. Haunted by nightmares and strange visions that encroach upon her waking hours, Marianne struggles to resume normal life. The “picture-perfect” world the family built starts to unravel as she gets closer to discovering that truth lies somewhere between life and death.

Before I continue, I have to state that I will not be going into great detail about the plot. If I do, I will give certain key elements away, and discovering what is actually going on is part of what makes this film so enjoyable. So, I am going to be very vague when I discuss the actual story.

TRUE NATURE is shot well and looks excellent onscreen. I’m not sure what the budget was for the film, but they used every bit of it wisely. From the sets to the lighting to the special effects, everything looks great.

The acting is also top notch as well. I enjoyed the entire cast, although actress Marianne Porter, who portrays the main character, steals the show. She only has a couple of credits on her IMDB page, but wow…she gives a staggering performance that will leave you in awe. I hope to see more of her in future projects.

The special effects look good as a whole, even if they are CG. There’s not much gore here (a couple of gunshot wounds and some blood-tears), but what we see looks good onscreen. I particularly enjoyed the CGI Effects feature in the Special Features. This shows how they did certain shots and the layers that were used.

But the story in TRUE NATURE is the real winner here. It is very original and suspenseful. I can honestly say I did not see the ending coming. It wasn’t what I was expecting at all.

My sole complaint about the film is the very final scene. I will not go into specifics, but it didn’t make much sense to me. Maybe I simply misunderstood it.

Still…TRUE NATURE is a great film and I highly suggest giving it a look. The film is available now in a variety of formats.

MSB

Book Review – Spiderstalk by D. Nathan Hilliard

Spiderstalk
by D. Nathan Hilliard
Release Date: September 14, 2013
Publisher: Self-published

Spiderstalk blog cover argiope aurantia

I’ve been sitting here for about 30 minutes, trying to figure out the best way to start this review. I have so many things I want to say about SPIDERSTALK, but words cannot seem to convey just how amazing this book really is. And it is truly that: amazing. If you are familiar with my reviews, you know this is not a designation I give out very often…maybe only once or twice a year (I read a lot). But this book is worthy of that mark and so much more.

If you are not familiar with SPIDERSTALK, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of the author:

Life hasn’t been kind to Adam Sellars lately…

In the past year he has broken up with his fiancee, barely survived a terrible car wreck, and had his brother’s family vanish while he lay unconscious in the hospital. All he has left of them are a frantic call left on his voice mail and a blurry picture of a spider. Since then he has been a crippled shell going through the motions of life with nothing but the search for his brother to keep him going.

But Adam is about to discover that things can still take a turn for the worse. Much worse.

His quest for his lost brother has brushed up against a very dark corner of the world and something has come out of that darkness with an unholy vengeance. He can’t fight it, he can’t hide from it, and not even the police can protect him as his world descends into chaos.
His only hope lies in a mysterious pair of strangers who have appeared out of nowhere with an offer of aid. But they have their own agenda, and his survival may not be their top priority. Now Adam must keep his wits about him and learn to believe in himself again as events send him on a collision course with a monster more horrific than he ever dreamed possible.

Where do I even begin? The above plot synopsis only scratches the surface of what this book is about, but that’s not a bad thing at all. The story is a treasure trove of plot work and detail. The result is an astounding book that will blow you away.

As with Hilliard’s previous works (check out my review of SHADES here), SPIDERSTALK is written well and flows smoothly at a nice pace. I am once again impressed with the editing as well; many self-published books contain several errors, whether they are grammatical or spelling. This book only has one editing error that I found (an omitted word). As a result, the finished product looks and reads like a professional piece.

The story is very unique, a refreshing blast of originality in a medium that is filled with rehashed ideas and reused cliches. I am not going to give away big aspects of the plot, as discovering what is going on is part of the fun, but I will tell you there is much more going on than you will initially think. I’m not sure where Hilliard got the idea for this story, but I’d love to know. Perhaps I will have to schedule an interview with him to find out.

The prologue alone was enough to have me squirming, which is a huge testament to the intensity level this book has throughout. I would classify this one as part horror, part dark fantasy, part historical fiction…a huge diversity, I know, but read the book and you’ll understand. I could definitely see this as a major-length motion picture as well.

SPIDERSTALK is my first Must Read recommendation I’m going to give for 2014. It is a hell of a book, and I cannot wait to see what Hilliard does for a follow-up. Visit Hilliard’s website or the book’s Amazon page (both links above) for ordering information…either way, make sure to give this one a look.

MSB

Movie Review – Knight of the Dead (2014)

Knight of the Dead
Directed by Mark Atkins
Courtesy of Inception Media Group
Release Date: January 21, 2014

Knight-of-the-Dead-DVD

I absolutely love when filmmakers or authors can take a few liberties with history and create an entertaining horror story out of it. Heck, I’m even willing to overlook a few historical inaccuracies here and there if the story is good enough. And if they can throw zombies in the mix? Wow…I’m definitely there. The upcoming film release KNIGHT OF THE DEAD is a decent historical horror flick that is certainly worthy of checking out, however some viewers might not enjoy the low-budget aspect of it.

If you are not familiar with KNIGHT OF THE DEAD, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Inception Media Group:

A band of crusading knights escorts the Holy Grail through a plague-ridden countryside, destined for a distant land. Hunted by assassins, the knights venture into the forbidden Valley of Black Death. What they discover is even more terrifying than the plague and the ruthless killers hot on their trail; the Valley of Black Death is home to the undead. Overrun by hordes of flesh eating zombies, their only chance for survival is a mysterious maiden who can guide them out. Their final, chilling journey (to either death or success) becomes the ultimate battle of men vs. undead as they face a non-stop barrage of gruesome, murderous walking dead.

I reviewed another movie of director Mark Atkins over at Hayes Hudson’s House of Horror a few years back, and I enjoyed that one immensely. The movie was HALLOWEEN NIGHT, and it was a heck of a film (click here to read the review). I have to confess that I didn’t like KNIGHT OF THE DEAD as much, however this film is worth checking out for the most part.

Personally, I enjoyed this film overall. It does have its flaws, but they are primarily due to the lack of budget. If you can look past that and take the film for what it is, you might actually enjoy it.

KNIGHT OF THE DEAD is shot decently however I think there are too many transition shots in certain scenes; this makes for a dizzying ride when you’re trying to track the action onscreen. Thankfully, this only happens a couple of times, so it’s not too terrible of a nuisance.

The acting is not bad, but it’s not great either. I have certainly seen worse, for sure. Likewise, the special effects are just…there. There’s a lot of CG blood sprays and whatnot, which I do not like for the most part, however there are also several good practical effects shots as well. A couple of characters are disemboweled, which looks pretty good onscreen.

I am disappointed with the zombie effects, however. They’re almost nonexistent. Most of the zombies are just actors with faces painted white or green…and a few dabs of gunk or blood here and there. If I’m watching a zombie flick, I want to see rotting flesh and decay.

Several of the reviews I read for KNIGHT OF THE DEAD mentioned a lack of color in the film and how drab it looks. I’ve got news for those of you who didn’t like that: it’s pretty realistic for that time period, especially for knights on the road. There’s not much to that countryside, and most of the warriors who traversed didn’t prance about in bright colors. They kept it plain and simple for the most part. This didn’t bother me at all in the film, but I felt like commenting on it anyway.

KNIGHT OF THE DEAD won’t win any awards, but I found it entertaining nonetheless. This is going to be one of those watch-for-yourself to judge flicks. It hits store shelves next week if you want to give it a look.

MSB

Book Review – H.P. Lovecraft in the Merrimack Valley by David Goudsward

H.P. Lovecraft in the Merrimack Valley
by David Goudsward
Release Date: August 20, 2013
Publisher: Hippocampus Press

Lovecraft

If you’ve read my blog, then you know I’m a huge fan of Lovecraft and his work. The man created a whole new era of horror and helped usher in the genre as we know it today. Because of his influence, many authors and fans have sought to go deeper into the man and his uber-imaginative mind. Author David Goudsward takes this ambition one step further and delves into the physical influences that played a part in some of Lovecraft’s stories. H.P. LOVECRAFT IN THE MERRIMACK VALLEY takes the reader on a historical journey through key locations in New England and discusses how these places found their way into Lovecraft’s work, as well as the people that touched his life along the way.

If you are not familiar with H.P. LOVECRAFT IN THE MERRIMACK VALLEY, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Hippocampus Press:

For decades, David Goudsward has been a leading authority on the obscurer historical and topographical corners of his native New England. In this lavish and detailed treatise, he has written the definitive treatment of Lovecraft’s connections with the Merrimack Valley of coastal Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Goudsward traces Lovecraft’s initial visits in the 1920s to such towns as Newburyport, Haverhill, and Hampstead, where he met such colleagues as Charles W. “Tryout” Smith, Myrta Alice Little, and Edgar J. Davis. Later visits clearly inspired many of the topographical features in such tales as “The Shadow over Innsmouth” and “The Shadow out of Time.” Goudsward has made a profound study of Lovecraft’s letters and other documents in tracing the Providence writer’s movements in the area and the impressions he drew from it. This book is lavishly illustrated with dozens of photographs of the locale, including many vivid period snapshots that show the towns and other landmarks as they would have been seen by Lovecraft himself. Goudsward also treats the possibility that Lovecraft visited Mystery Hill, a megalithic site that some scholars believe inspired “The Dunwich Horror.” H. P. Lovecraft in the Merrimack Valley is an exhaustive treatment of a subject that has rarely been discussed before, but that is of crucial importance to H. P. Lovecraft’s life and imagination.

I can honestly say I’ve never read a work as exhaustively researched as this one. Goudsward uses letters, journal entries, and essays written by and about Lovecraft as the basis of his research, and he takes great care and effort to ensure the reader understands the context in which they are used as well. The result is an informative and entertaining read.

H.P. LOVECRAFT IN THE MERRIMACK VALLEY is written well and flows nicely. Although it is non-fiction, the book does not read like a stale textbook. Instead, Goudsward presents the information as matter-of-fact but adds a slight hint of dramatic effect in his writing. This style allows for complete immersion into the book.

H.P. LOVECRAFT IN THE MERRIMACK VALLEY is a huge win for me, and I highly recommend it to anyone seeking a better understanding of this legendary author and his life.

MSB

Movie Review – 12 Disasters (2013)

12 Disasters
(a.k.a. The 12 Disasters of Christmas)
Directed by Steven R. Monroe
Courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment
Release Date: January 7, 2014

12 disasters

Oh, Syfy Channel…you just continue to bring us the best in low-budget horror entertainment! I say this with only the slightest hint of sarcasm; after all, I love the schlocky gems they have given us over the years, like SHARKNADO and ICE SPIDERS. I have a new addition to my favorites list: 12 DISASTERS. This film is an offering from director Steven R. Monroe, the genius behind 2010’s I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE remake. And while it won’t be for everyone, 12 DISASTERS is a lot of fun if you’ll give it a chance.

If you are not familiar with 12 DISASTERS, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Anchor Bay:

It’s Christmas season in the mountain village of Calvary, but merry and bright have suddenly fled town: There are mass bird deaths. Blood red water running from faucets. Grandma’s impaled by humongous flying icicles. And for 18-year-old Jacey (Magda Apanowicz of “Continuum”), a newly discovered gift has led her and her dad (Ed Quinn of “Eureka”) to the revelation that a beloved holiday carol may hold the key to a yuletide Mayan apocalypse. Can their desperate search for five golden rings now stop a global cataclysm of tornados, volcanoes and killer twinkle lights? Holly Elissa (ICE QUAKE), Roark Critchlow (“Pretty Little Liars”), Andrew Airlie (“Reaper”), Ryan Grantham (DIARY OF A WIMPY KID) and Donnelly Rhodes (“Battlestar Gallactica”) co-star in this hit Syfy Movie that delivers the ultimate countdown of Xmas mayhem!

You obviously can’t go into this film expecting seriousness. If you do, then you’ll hate it. But if you take it for what it is, I bet you will enjoy it. There’s too much here NOT to enjoy.

12 DISASTERS is shot well and looks good overall. I do have to confess that the CG is not the best, but you shouldn’t expect high-budget effects from a TV movie. Still, the effects are not that bad, and they are even good enough to make you cringe every now and then. Of particular note is when the giant icicles impale people; nice, gruesome imagery to take you through the rest of the movie!

Underneath the darkly comedic overtones (regardless of whether they are intentional or not), Monroe once again presents a strong female protagonist who is portrayed this time by Magda Apanowicz. This plucky young actress does a great job with her role and is a joy to watch onscreen. The rest of the cast does a pretty good job supporting her, however she is the primary focal point in the film.

12 DISASTERS is a win for me, although moviegoers expecting big-budget affairs should steer clear. But if you can look past the exterior and enjoy the story within, this film should entertain plenty. The film is available now in a variety of formats.

MSB