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Royal Jelly

USA 2021
produced by
Sean Riley, Candy Riley, Hrilina LLC (executive), Daniel S. Allen (executive), Michael Cline (executive), Sherry Lattanzi (executive), Tim Dailey (executive) for Integral Motion Pictures
directed by Sean Riley
starring Elizabeth McCoy, Sherry Lattanzi, Lucas T. Matchett, Jake McCoy, Raylen Ladner, Nicole Prunty, Hrilina Rakhs, Jesse Hartsog, Jonas Chartock, Fiona McQuinn, Ayla Miller, Justin Davis, G. Tremain Merrell, Christopher Boler, Morgan Dean, Dillan Brown, Lory Tom Thompson sr, Adrienne Newell, Diana Sue, Jacquelyn Elder-Merideth, Corey Luttrell, Lewis Rogers, Allen Hopkins, Charlesia Means, Tim Tanner, Devin Stevenson, Tavin Chandler, Mary Alden Luttrell, Julia Smith, Harleigh Dahl, Jonathan Dahl, Taia Phillips, Deuce Miner, Sophia Dean, Sage Dean, Jackson Bell, Laya Riser
written by Sean Riley, music by Joe Hodgin, visual effects by Jonathan Hammond

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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Aster (Elizabeth McCoy) is an outcast at her school, and thus the target of massive bullying, something even her stepsister Drew (Raylen Ladner) participates in. And her favourite pastime, bee-keeping, seems to utterly brand her as the school's weirdo. Enter Tresa (Sherry Lattanzi), a substitute teacher that sees potential in the girl - but more than that, she not only encourages Aster to egg the house of one of her bullies, she even participates in it. However, that bully avenges herself by destroying Aster's beehives. In shock over this, Aster accepts Tresa's offer to come and live with her. At first, everything's wonderful, Tresa lives in a beautiful mansion in a very serene, almost fairytale like stretch of land, she encourages Aster to build new beehives and helps with bee-keeping with almost as much enthusiasm as Aster. Also, Aster is quick to take a liking to Tresa's son Henry (Lucas T. Matchett), who's roughly her age. But things soon get weird when Henry starts to develop a rash, and while Aster wants to get him to a hospital, Tresa just expells him from her home - which leads Aster to secretly invite him to her room that night and they have sex, only for him to be gone the next day. In the morning then, Aster finds a new guy at the breakfast table, simpleton David (Jake McCoy), whom Tresa has apparently chosen as Aster's new partner, and she also flatly ignores all of Aster's inquiries in regards to Henry. Eventually, Aster shows first signs of pregnancy, and from here on things get really weird, as it soon becomes clear whatever she's carrying inside her might not be quite human ...

 

No matter how you look at it, this is a rather unusual film: While it starts out like a typical high school movie, with all the tropes firmly in place, it soon transcends genre confines and morphs into a fairy tale-ish story, which is also mirrored in the film's atmospheric shift to a hyper-reality full of light and bright colours - something so exaggerated it's clear it can't last ... and indeed it doesn't when the movie plunges in horror territory, and sure doesn't hold back when it comes to gruesomeness, to mount to a finale that borders surrealism. But while this might sound terribly hodge podge, the film feels like a coherent whole, carried by a self-assured and style-conscious directorial effort, a story that, despite leaving open many questions, does have its inner logic throughout, and a very competent cast giving relatable performances. And the whole thing amounts to an enjoyable piece of weirdness.

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
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shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

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
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written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
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out now on DVD