April: Hellboy, La Llorona, Shazam, and more!

by Charles Gerian

With March ending, April marks the start of “Summer movie season”, and April is already pretty damn loaded which gives us a good example of what to expect for the rest of 2018 at the movies. For the sake of space, I'll be going over April's big movies that you'll want to see.

This Friday, Disney's DUMBO live action remake comes out along with Harmony Korine's first feature film since 2013's SPRING BREAKERS: THE BEACH BUM.

Next week, April 5, will see two major releases with DC and Warner Brothers' SHAZAM alongside Paramount's Stephen King remake PET SEMATARY.

SHAZAM, directed by David F. Sandberg (Annabelle Creation) follows pre-teen Billy Batson- a kid living in and out of foster homes- who is granted the mystical powers of an old wizard named Shazam. By saying his name Billy is instantly transformed into a superhero (Zachary Levi) with the powers of super strength, flight, and the ability to control lightning. Of course, with great power...comes, well, you know the rest. Billy's newfound super antics put him and his new foster family in the sights of Dr. Sivana (Mark Strong) and he has to do what heroes do best: save the day.

Fandango held early screenings in select cities for the film this past weekend, and critics and fans alike have been singing the film's praises as a breath of fresh air for both the superhero genre and for DC's film universe which just scored big this past Christmas with AQUAMAN. Reviews say SHAZAM is fun for the whole family and is more of a Spielberg adventure flick than a nonstop superhero beat-em-up.

PET SEMATARY, loosely adapted in 1989, follows a surgeon named Louis (Jason Clarke) who relocates his family to rural Maine from Boston where they soon discover that a graveyard for family pets- the Pet Cemetery- has more malicious energy in it's blood soaked soil than they could imagine. Despite the warnings from their neighbor Jud (John Lithgow), Louis begins to experiment with the “sour” land which leads to terror beyond their wildest imaginations as the things that are buried there don't stay dead...and sometimes, we're told, “dead is better” than what comes back.

The film, directed by Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer, has been getting heaps of acclaim with many saying it is one of the best King adaptations to date, similar to the stellar reception of 2017's IT reboot. PET SEMATARY is said to be terrifying, nasty, and a true exercise in suspense.

The following weekend, April 12, will see “big red” himself return to the big screen with HELLBOY, a reboot of the two-film series that “ended” in 2008 with HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY.

This new film, based more closely on Mike Mignola's comic series, follows a young and inexperienced Hellboy (David Harbour) who is sent on a mission on behalf of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD) to investigate sightings of The Wild Hunt, a mythical hunting party seen as an omen for the end of times. In this case, that end is The Blood Queen (Milla Jovovich) aka Lady Nimue of Arthurian Legend. Hellboy must face his own demonic origin and decide once and for all if he's humanity's protector...or it's demise.

As someone who was vehemently against the reboot initially, I have since started to believe it might be my favorite film of the year. This R-rated action comedy looks decadent, bloody, and fun and from director Neil Marshall (Dog Soldiers, Doomsday). We'll never get a proper HELLBOY III but this may even be better than the originals, who knows?

April 19 sees The Conjuring film universe continue to expand after this October's THE NUN with WB's THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA, a horror film based off the tragic legend and mythology of the Latin American spirit “The Crying Woman”. Set in 1970's Los Angeles, a social worker (Linda Cardellini) investigates a terrified home and soon incurs the wrath of La Llorona, a weeping ghost of a woman who seeks to replace her two dead children by stealing others. With her family and a jaded priest, a battle between good and evil begins.

LA LLORONA has gotten mixed reviews as most of these features do. THE NUN was critically torn apart but I had fun with the Gothic spook story, and i'm a sucker for The Conjuring's film universe so I'm more than down with this.

April ends with AVENGERS: ENDGAME on April 26 which acts as the grand finale to almost 20 years worth of the Marvel Cinematic Universe before Disney shoves in the X-Men and Fantastic Four characters they have pillaged from their brutal, terrifying, rape of 20th Century Fox. I don't really need to say much about ENDGAME because we're all aware it will make billions and if you're not “in the know” about the hype, you don't care either way. Last year's INFINITY WAR was pretty damn entertaining, so i'll be there to catch ENDGAME for sure.

Look for my review of DUMBO next week!