Thursday, September 28, 2017


by Rob DiCristino
My Redbox is haunted. Must be almost #ScaryMovieMonth.

The Cropsey Incident (2017, dir. Julian Grant)

What if a group of fame-hungry, You Tubing millennials made The Blair Witch Project? What if they were awful human beings? I mean, just the worst and most reprehensible assholes imaginable? What if they never stopped shouting at you? That’s The Cropsey Incident, a found-footage mockumentary (?) that, as far as I can tell, aims to expose the false outrage of SJW activist culture by pitting four idiots (Rinska Carrasco Prestinary, Terry Bell, Brandon Galatz, and Hannah Phelps) against Cropsey, the mysterious, child-stealing creature of urban legend. In the film, the four members of H.A.T.E. (Humans Against Tyrants Everywhere), determined to get more hits on their Facepage and Twatter sites, set off into the woods. There, they encounter satanic symbols, creepy recluses, and shadowy monsters, which they use as props in a series of videos claiming to chronicle their search for lost children. But, twist! They’re so opportunistic and deluded that they don’t realize the dangers are real! Soon, just as egos clash and supplies run low, Baghead Jason shows up to make creepy sounds and pee all over their camera equipment. It’s all very exciting.
I’d never heard of Wild Eye Releasing before I began investigating how The Cropsey Incident got out into the world, but their lineup of Asylum-esque horror ripoffs reads as a sad and desperate attempt to capitalize on trends that have already died: Heidi (the killer doll), Demon Hunter (the Underworld clone), and — no bullshit — a movie called Tsunambee. It’s Sharknado, but with bees. Do you get it? Anyway, The Cropsey Incident thinks it’s teaching these kids that “going viral” comes with a cost, that sensationalist behavior strips us of our humanity. In the DVD commentary (yes, I watched the commentary for you), the director describes the film as a parody, “an indictment of the Kardashian culture.” Had our cast not been made up of horrible assholes from the start (and had Heather from The Blair Witch Project not illustrated this point with more grace and depth twenty years ago), it might have worked. Instead — and I cannot emphasize this enough — the movie is just eighty-five minutes of people shouting at each other. It’s too cheap to create the formal distance necessary to feel like a parody and too ham-handed for any of its messages to resonate in a meaningful way.

The Attic (2017, dir. Chanaphon Rinla)

Don’t watch The Attic. I’ll get that out of the way first thing. It’s cheap, poorly-acted, bizarrely-edited, and incredibly boring. It’s the story of Tom (Lorenzo de Stefano), who owns many houses. He gives one of these houses to his assistant, Pat (Pla Komaratat) and her children, Gun (Gun Osathanugrah) and Lily (Nutchanun Mahingsa). Later, Pat and Tom begin dating. Even more later, Pat discovers that Tom had impregnated and murdered his housekeeper, Katin (the awesomely-named Ice Natcha), and that her spirit is haunting the house. Most later, Katin kills Tom after Tom goes crazy. That’s essentially it. There’s a subplot about Gun’s angst and one about Pat being a painter. Neither really goes anywhere. It seems like they might have been trying to make Fifty Shades of Grey Except Horror and Set in Thailand, but it’s difficult to tell with only the garbled and nonsensical footage available. Each scene is a combination of/variation on four elements: 1. Pat walks around the house, 2. Pat and Tom bone, 3. Gun angrily plays piano, or 4. Lily talks to haunted dolls. There are literally no scares in the film. Not one moment of building dread or bloodthirsty rage. A zombie jumps on a guy, and he dies.
The interesting things about The Attic are behind the scenes: The film’s credited director is Chanaphon Rinla, whom IMDb credits merely as a co-writer. IMDb credits Kaprice Kea as the director, but the film lists him as the editor. Next, the film is “adapted from a screenplay & film by Chanaphon Rinla.” Gotta be a short film or something somewhere, right? There is a 2013 film called The Attic (known as Crawlspace in the U.S.), but it was directed by Josh Stolberg. There’s also a short film called The Attic from 2007, but that was made by someone called Alexander Choudhary. There’s a full-length The Attic starring Elisabeth Moss and Catherine Mary Stewart (!), directed by Mary Lambert. That sounds awesome, but it is in no way connected to this film. Finally, the end credits tell us that, “despite an entirely different story, cinematography, soundtrack, and treatment of characters, The Attic incorporates imagery and sound, and preserves a few scenes from the feature film ‘The Attic 2013,’ made by the same producers a year earlier.” It then lists the credits for that film, which credit Pla Komaratat (Pat) and Chanaphon Rinla (director?) as producers, Ice Natcha (Katin) and Gun Osathanugrah (Gun) as original story writers, and someone called “Mr. Ten” as the film editor. I’d like to humbly submit that I be referred to as “Mr. Ten” from now on.

My point is that life is full of amazing mysteries. I’ll leave you with two of my favorite exchanges from The Attic:


I’m thinking about a games room.

Shame. The light is pretty good.

Yeah, you could be right.


Unnamed Friend
How is your new home?

Very good. If we didn’t have Tom, we would have had nowhere to go.

Unnamed Friend
It’s great he helped like that. He’s such a hunk, and charming, too. But be careful, or some young thing may snatch him up. Really, your kids will understand.

Happy Scary Movie Month!


  1. Very funny and entertaining! I wonder about a lot of these cheap horror flicks no one is talking about that are constantly getting released. Good to hear some thoughts on them.

  2. I really love this Column, keep it up Rob!

  3. I want to commend you for watching the DVD commentary That sounds painful. Thanks for baring these as it makes a fun read!