Tag Archives: Mark Young

It’s All in the Delivery

The Long Night

by Brandon Thomas

Writer/director Rich Ragsdale clearly has a fondness for horror. His feature, The Long Night, is chock full of the genre’s greatest hits: a couple alone in a farmhouse, robed assailants, ample gore and moody music. What The Long Night may lack in originality, it more than makes up for in execution.

Grace (Scout Taylor-Compton of Rob Zombie’s Halloween & Halloween 2) and her boyfriend, Jack (Nolan Gerard Funk of The Flight Attendant), travel to the deep south to try and unravel the mystery of Grace’s parents. Grace never knew them and a man she’s made contact with claims to have answers.

Once Grace and Jack arrive at the isolated farmhouse, they find themselves under siege by a sadistic cult and its maniacal leader (Deborah Unger of The Game and Cronenberg’s Crash).

A story like the one in The Long Night could’ve gone tongue-in-cheek and still delivered something mildly entertaining. However, Ragsdale has something a little more classy on his mind, and the result is a film much more methodical and patient. There’s no real rush to overdue the slow reveal around the film’s core mystery. Ragsdale and co-writer Mark Young twist every little bit of tension out of Grace and Jack’s experience throughout the night.

The film’s visual approach is just as patient and measured. Ragsdale keeps his camera locked down – rarely going handheld, even during the film’s more chaotic scenes. The stillness of the cinematography only adds to the unease. 

The haunting score by Sherri Chung is a standout in an already aesthetically pleasing film. Chung delivers a gothic score that is modern yet wouldn’t feel entirely out of place in a classic Hammer film.

Next to the fan-fiction level scripts, Rob Zombie’s Halloween movies also get routinely beat up in the acting department. One of the few actors to make it out of those films relatively unscathed was Scout Taylor-Compton. Now well over a decade removed from Zombie’s Halloween 2, Taylor-Compton gives a grounded portrayal as Grace. This isn’t a character with a ton of nuance, but Taylor-Compton instills her with a sense of relatability. She’s “Every Girl U.S.A.” without the overall blandness. 

Character actor royalty Jeff Fahey shows up for a criminally short part halfway through the film. Fahey’s genre bonafides are strong with Grindhouse, Machete, TV’s Lost and the underrated Psycho III. Fahey’s role doesn’t add much to the film other than a fun bit of “Hey, it’s that guy!” from the audience, but any Fahey is good Fahey in my book.

The Long Night isn’t likely to end up on any “Best Of” lists at the end of the year. It is, however, a fun way to spend a Friday night.

Devil to Pay


by Hope Madden

There’s a real thread of forgiveness, consequences and redemption in current horror. It fuels Romola Garai’s Amulet, Jayo Bustamante’s La Llorona, and now, Limbo, the cheeky neo noir from writer/director/producer Mark H. Young.

Jimmy (Lew Temple) looks like a pretty cut-and-dried case to Balthazar (Lucian Charles Collier). He shot a grandmother (Veronica Cartwright) in the head robbing a pawn shop, caught a bullet in the back and now he’s here, facing judgment. But why has the man upstairs deemed Jimmy worthy of his own defense angel (Scottie Thompson)?

Must be something big. Even the other guy’s getting in on the deal. Both sides are weirdly interested in the outcome of this one case.

Young (Feral) has a knack for efficient, low budget horror. His work is not inspired, but it definitely makes the most of its budget. And in this case, you also have to hand it to him for casting.  

Besides the always-welcome Temple and the great-to-see Cartwright, Limbo brings in familiar faces Richard Riehel (jump! to conclusions guy from Office Space), and James Purefoy as Lucifer.

Lauryn Canny (Darlin’) delivers the strongest performance as a prostitute back in real life that may or may not prove Jimmy’s worthiness of forgiveness, but everyone’s fun. Purefoy, who relishes these campy roles, chooses a hillbilly accent for Satan. Odd.

Odder still is whatever accent Collier is attempting, but that hardly sinks the film. It’s a goofy fantasy and just about anything flies.

The circular logic isn’t as tight as Young may think it is, but again, Limbo provides serviceable fun. No scares and not a ton of laughs—indeed, where Young is hoping to land on the horror-comedy spectrum is a bit muddy—but thanks mainly to a game cast, Limbo is still a pretty good time.

Wait—Camping Is Dangerous?


by Hope Madden

Here’s the thing about Feral. It’s a decent movie: well-paced, competently directed, solidly performed. And there is not a single interesting, novel, surprising or inspired moment in it.

Maybe one, but it’s not reason enough to make this movie.

Three handsome couples head into the woods. They get a little lost, decide to pitch tents and find the lake in the morning.

They hear a noise.

One of them goes out to pee.

There’s something dangerous in the woods.


Co-writer/director Mark Young follows up half a dozen low budget, middling-to-poor horror and action films with this adequate take on a monster-in-the-woods tale.

The sole reason the film stands out in any way is that Young’s hero, Alice (Scout Taylor-Compton) is a lesbian. Equally refreshing, males are as likely as females to fall prey to the hungry forest beast.

Bravo the nonchalance with which this is depicted, as the film does not strain to call attention to the novelty of this final girl and hero twist.

Yes, it’s about time. And yet, maybe Feral needed at least one other thing to set it apart? Because as it is, it’s simply a checklist of cabin-in-the-woods horror tropes, faithfully rendered, right up to the waning moments of its running time.

Taylor-Compton offers a perfectly serviceable performance, as do most of the actors around her. Olivia Luccardi, Renee Olstead and Landry Allbright all work to provide something close to a second dimension to underwritten, throwaway characters.

Lew Temple is an always welcome sight as the—wait for it—hermit whose assistance in this situation is suspect.

Together, cast and director generate scares by relying less on imagination and more on your familiarity with the genre itself. Therefore, assuming you have ever seen a horror movie in your life, you will not be scared.

You’ll just be reminded for the thousandth time that camping is an undeniably stupid thing to do. That’s what I got out of it, anyway.