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Review: ‘Faking a Murderer’ is a Horror-Infused “Unreal” True Crime Story

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Filmmakers (and brothers-in-law) Stu Stone and Adam Rodness have done the documentary format (Netflix’s Jack of All Trades) and are no strangers to horror (Scarecrows, The Haunted House on Kirby Road). Their newest film — Faking a Murderer — is a clever, crazed combination of the two genres, creating a unique, unreal true crime story.

Directed by Stone and co-written by Rodness and Stone, Faking a Murderer follows the two filmmakers on their noble yet perhaps misguided quest to track down a seedy-looking stranger they’ve discovered online who — in a disturbing video — seemingly confesses to a murder. Or at least that’s what they think. Seeing the popularity of true crime shows, they decide to try and turn this discovery into their own killer hit. With the support of a distributor (both moral and financial), Stone and Rodness set off on their journey to try and track down this elusive creep. When they bring the video to law enforcement, they’re told — repeatedly — that it’s really not much to go on, and they’re putting a lot of time and energy into what essentially is a fool’s errand. Determined to make this work, they flex, stretch, and break their budget in pursuit of a hit new crime story. Are they in over their heads? Yes. Is it fun to watch? Absolutely.

There’s a sincerity in Rodness and Stone’s determination (and their performances) that makes for a really endearing and entertaining film. But with that determination comes misguided confidence and unchecked hubris. Stone and Rodness really — really — want this guy to be the murderer they’ve been searching for. There’s a lot lying on the line if they’re wrong, so the question is, how far will they go to make a true crime story… well… true? 

Fans of Digging Up the Marrow will find a kind of familiarity in Faking a Murderer, in which filmmakers — playing themselves — use their experience and resources to investigate a mystery. The marketing for the film avoids the term “mockumentary”, instead promoting it as an “unreal true crime story”. As “unreal” as it is, it feels very true; you’re pulled in by its simple sincerity. Think of it as less Behind the Mask: the Rise of Leslie Vernon and more Catfish-meets-Deliverance, with an energy that slides from silly to somber. 

Throughout the film, Rodness and Stone’s various pitches, interviews, and meetings blur the line between truth and fiction; their conversations are earnest, their energy keen, and their hopes high. It makes it easy to lose your sense of what scenes are carefully crafted versus those that unfold organically. This balance of sincerity and scripted keeps Faking a Murderer grounded and honest, while still stirring in some drama to keep things interesting. 

I won’t speak too much on the film’s final scenes (it’s far more fun to see for yourself), but I will say that it’s a great finish that throws a solid punch, while at the same time, lightheartedly cushioning the blow. There’s an epilogue that sums it all up perfectly and shows that Rodness and Stone don’t take themselves too seriously. 

With Faking a Murderer, Rodness and Stone have created a film that is both grounded and completely off the rails, tossing caution to the wind to chase down a wild story. They’re stubborn and recklessly optimistic, which — in this case — is a winning combination. Faking a Murderer may lean less on the “true” part of true crime, but it sure knows how to be “unreal”.

 

You can find Faking a Murderer on Hollywood Suite, or watch the trailer below

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Doug Bradley Wants To Play Pinhead Again In A ‘The Scarlet Gospels’ Movie Adaptation

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This is exciting news for fans of the actor and the franchise. In an exclusive interview with Bloody Disgusting, Doug Bradley says, I certainly never say never. I’ve never said I was done with it. Check out more of what he says in the interview below.

Movie Scene from Hellraiser (1987)

Doug Bradley says, “I certainly never say never. I’ve never said I was done with it. I’ve never said I’m retired from it. I’m sensible about these things, too. I was in my mid-30s when I first played the character, and I was just turning 50 when I played him the last time. I ain’t in that age range anymore. I’m now in my 70th year, and to some extent, I think special effects makeup is a younger man’s game.”

Movie Scene from Hellraiser (1987)

Then, when talking about a movie adaptation of The Scarlet Gospels, he says “If we did that, we could maybe present an older Pinhead to be aware of the fact that I am the age I am, that time and gravity does what time and gravity does. An older, darker Pinhead would intrigue me, one not so much in love with the flippant one-liners and the witty comebacks and so forth.”

Deleted Scene from Hellbound: Hellraiser 2 (1988)

The Scarlet Gospels is a novel written by Clive Barker that was published in 2015. It served as a continuation of his novel The Hellbound Heart and the Harry D’Amour stories. The book followed the story of the Hell Priest, the demonic Cenobite nicknamed “Pinhead”, and his efforts to gain power. Occult detective Harry D’Amour must journey into Hell to rescue his friend and stop the Hell Priest’s plans.”

Movie Scene from Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (1992)

While Bradley does state he is too old for the role, The Scarlet Gospels follows an older pinhead which would work perfectly for the actor. Are you excited about the news of him playing the character again if this adaptation happens? Let us know in the comments below.

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Season 5 of HBO’s ‘True Detective’ Is Greenlit

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True Detective Season 5

Whether you liked Issa López’s interpretation of HBO’s True Detective: Night Country, the streamer has given her the go-ahead for another season, the fifth for the long-running series.

That’s right López will once again take the reigns of True Detective which HBO says the Night Country installment was its most-watched season of the creepy series to date, with its finale (aired on February 18) getting the highest viewership numbers since its premiere in January.

True Detective
True Detective: Night Country

“From conception to release, ‘Night Country’ has been the most beautiful collaboration and adventure of my entire creative life,” López told Variety. “HBO trusted my vision all the way, and the idea of bringing to life a new incarnation of ‘True Detective’ with Casey, Francesca and the whole team is a dream come true. I can’t wait to go again.”

True Detective: Night Country Official Trailer

Francesca Orsi, executive vice president of HBO Programming added, “Issa López is that one-of-a-kind, rare talent that speaks directly to HBO’s creative spirit. She helmed ‘True Detective: Night Country’ from start to finish, never once faltering from her own commendable vision, and inspiring us with her resilience both on the page and behind the camera. Alongside Jodie and Kali’s impeccable performances, she’s made this installation of the franchise a massive success, we are so lucky to have her as part of our family.”

López was very verbal on social media about doing Night Country, from the announcement she got the gig, until its completion. You might know her work outside of HBO starting with the sublime 2017 supernatural thriller Tigers Are Not Afraid.

Some viewers were divided on the supernatural direction Lopez took True Detective, but the overall consensus is that it was a great twist to an already phenomenal series.

True Detective: Night Country stars Jodie Foster and Kali Reis as two investigators examining the strange mass death of an Ennis, Alaska research team who may or may not have succumbed to a curse perpetuated by the indigenous people of the area.

There is no word yet on plot details but keep checking back with us and we will keep you posted.

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Josh Brolin Replaces Pedro Pascal in New Zach Cregger Film ‘Weapons’

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josh brolin

Horror fans who loved Zach Cregger’s Barbarian will be excited to hear that his new project Weapons is still in active production. An exclusive from The Hollywood Reporter states that Josh Brolin is in negation for the film’s lead role.

The role was originally meant for Pedro Pascal (The Last of Us) but a scheduling conflict with the new Fantastic Four film has caused him to leave the project. This is an interesting decision on the part of Pascal. The Fantastic Four film franchise hasn’t exactly gone well in the past. But hey, there’s a first time for everything, right?

Pedro Pascal
Pedro Pascal

Luckily, Josh Brolin (Avengers: Infinity War) is showing up to fill the position. Horror fans have been wildly excited about the new project from Zach Cregger, even though very little is known about the project.

The Hollywood Report states that the film is ‘an interrelated, multistory horror epic that tonally is in the vein of Magnolia“. And I’ll be honest, I have no idea what that means, but it sounds amazing. If anyone can pull off a film like that, it’s Josh Brolin.

Josh Brolin

This would technically be Josh Brolin’s first horror film. The actor has been known to be very picky about who he worked with in the past. Fans are taking this as an indication that the film will be well written. Or at the very least, have an original concept.

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