Matthew Robbins

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Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark Review


Excellent
This inventive horror film plays to our deepest childhood fears. It's like a demented variation on The Borrowers, and first-rate acting and effects work combine to thoroughly creep us out.

Shy, artistic 8-year-old Sally (Madison) moves across the country to live with her architect dad Alex (Pearce) and his designer girlfriend Kim (Holmes) in a massive old Rhode Island mansion. But she soon starts hearing strange noises, and after discovering a boarded-up basement studio, things start getting a bit freaky. But how can she convince her sceptical father and the stepmum she doesn't trust that there's something in the house that wants to tear the family apart? Even after the handyman (Thompson) is attacked, Alex continues his renovations so he can lure a buyer (Dale).

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Warning Sign Review


Weak
Sam Waterston in a zombie movie? Though it's dressed up as a meditation on genetic engineering, Warning Sign is still just a zombie movie, sans the death. In this film, the guys just go to sleep before they become bloodthirsty monsters. And this zombification is curable: So the body count is awfully low. Still, Warning Sign has a pedigreed cast and a few fun moments (Kathleen Quinlan getting electrocuted by a mild-mannered scientist who just wants out of the research facility. Reasonably interesting for its era.

Dragonslayer Review


Good
Here's what bothers me about Dragonslayer.

The story involves a fantasy kingdom which sacrifices a young woman every year to the mean old dragon on the hill, lest it burn up all the crops, and so on. Peter MacNicol plays a young magician who is bent on destroying the dragon, even though he's a bit of a schlub... you know, like Peter MacNicol. Caitlin Clarke plays a young boy who turns out to be a young woman in disguise, designed to evade the lottery used to pick the woman for sacrifice.

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The Sugarland Express Review


Excellent
Somewhere between unleashing the homicidal tanker of Duel on television audiences and the man-eating shark of Jaws on moviegoers, a young Steven Spielberg found the time to spin a far more human yarn in his debut theatrical feature The Sugarland Express. Employing the same storytelling techniques here as in the more fantastic fables that would follow, he elevates the material above its fairly routine narrative.

Based on a true story, the film follows the efforts of two married convicts, Lou Jean and Clovis Michael Poplin (Goldie Hawn and William Atherton), to retrieve their son from the foster parents who took custody when the Poplins went into the clink. Having already served her time, Lou Jean springs her husband from jail and, a few tragic misjudgments later, soon she's on the run with him and a kidnapped patrolman, Slide (Michael Sacks).

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Matthew Robbins

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