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The Kingdom of Var

Canada 2019
produced by
Nicholas Kleban, Luke Meneok (associate) for Sphinxus IV Films, Skeletonization Films
directed by Nicholas Kleban
starring Vida Zukauskas, Sarah Swerid, Shawn Van Every, Stephen Ingram, Mark Brombacher, Sarah Sosnoski, Alison Niven, Lars Classington, Brittany Clough, Madison Graves, Matthew Sears, Michelle Evans, Concetta Roche, Tamara Moskaliuk, Cynthia Stone, Kevin Reitzel, Steve Sherry
written by Nicholas Kleban, special effects and makeup effects by Michelle Evans, Tabi Weaver (as Tabi Ferguson), prosthetics by Chris Cooper

review by
Mike Haberfelner

In general, Sonja (Vida Zukauskas) is a very level-headed college student with little interest in the occult ... but when her roommate Ashley (Sarag Swerid) shows her an over 400 year old videotape - which she knows is technically impossible of course - of unhinged black magician Var (Shawn Van Every), she gets a queasy feeling, which is not at all helped by the fact that she starts to have nightmares that are linked to Var and that feel more like visions, really. And then things start to fall apart, Ashley kills herself before Sonja's very eyes, a friend she turns to for help (Madison Graves) is brutally killed by her boyfriend  (Matthew Sears) because of it, and when she turns to her boyfriend (Stephen Ingram), he knocks her out, cuffs her and lets the local pervert (Mark Brombacher) have his way with her. And somehow it turns out her watching the tape has brought Var, who's some sort of demon, back to earth, and he's bound to do evil. Now Sonja has one thing to her benefit, she has a photographic memory, and having read a book with spells to bind Var, she knows them all - she just doesn't know exactly what these spells are doing ...

 

Now there are no two ways about it, The Kingdom of Var is not the technically most accomplished movie - actually the film looks and sounds very much like an S.O.V. film from the 1990s rather than anything current, and frankly, also not all the acting is up to par. But what's the real saving grace of this movie is the love that right obviously went into this and that's really palpable: It's very apparent that writer/director Nicholas Kleban and his crew really love the horror genre, and horror fans will easily pick up references to Lovecraft, Argento and the like, not only story-wise but also in terms of atmosphere. And the yarn this movie spins is well thought through and well constructed and should please genre fans, especially thanks to its often nightmarish logic.

Not a masterpiece, but Nicholas Kleban is definitely a talent to look out for!

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
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Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD