Reviews & Interviews

Witch & Popcorn

 

Review of Jacob Mulliken’s Berserkers

 

Bright Blessings, Film Lovers!

I was sent this gem a couple of weeks ago and spent the next hour and a half laughing and enjoying the campy good fun it’s filled with. A comedy horror released in August of 2014, this is available to stream for as little as $1.99 on Amazon, unless you’ve got Prime, and you may be able to watch it free.

A trailer to show what you are missing is here:

 

 

The film follows Hunter and friends, who gather on his birthday. They are going out of their way to cheer him up as he’s broken hearted by his unappreciative, cheating girlfriend. He plans to propose, but his friends are trying to get him in the mindset to instead date the emotionally stable, devoted Callie who sticks with Hunter through thick and thin. Soon after, the world is turned upside down because humanity is transformed into man eating monsters.

The friends make it out to the remote homestead owned by Zeke, lovingly played by F. Robert McMurray. Zeke is responsible for the morale and survival skills knowledge the friends learn, and thrive with. Soon, Hunter, played by the multi-talented director and writer of the film, Jacob Mulliken, has become the strong leader of the group. Unfortunately, it’s taken a toll on him, as is evident by how he shuts his emotions away, going into overdrive trying his best to keep everybody safe at all times.

While you’d think they lived happily ever after, hidden out of harm’s way, eventually, the beasts start closing in, and a new threat surfaces nobody was expecting that could be the end of the band of friends.

Gloriously gross with splashing, spewing blood and dangling guts, the film is quite the indulgence for gore and slasher horror fans. Lovers of camp films like the Evil Dead will find this film refreshingly goofy, with excellent intellectual banter and witty one-liners. If a touch of profanity bothers you, don’t watch this, but don’t expect Soprano’s level swearing. The writing relies on humor, and a strong grasp of what makes horror and comedy combine well. Don’t expect slow suspense. The film moves quickly and doesn’t bore viewers with cliché stupidity so many horrors fall prey to- aka- a bunch of slap happy twenty something pals party while waiting for what seems to be forever for a slasher to come attack. You won’t have to worry about such garbage in this film.

 

 

Mulliken, an actor, writer, director, and producer, also wrote, directed and starred in Meltdown, another hilarious horror, and has acted in things like Breaking Bad and In Plain Sight.

He chose a surprising twist that addresses the dangers of religious cults and religious fanaticism. A topic many Pagans are all too familiar with, religious cults wreck lives, even resulting in deaths. People are controlled and brainwashed for the purpose of following the orders of some cult leader, and lose their own wills to decide their lives for themselves.

An article by Tennessee State University defines cults in a simple way: “There are thousands of cults in America, some harmless and some that can be very dangerous. A cult is a group or movement held together by a shared commitment to a charismatic leader or ideology. It has a belief system that has the answers to all of life’s questions and offers a special solution to be gained only by following the leader’s rules. “

In the film, contrast between REAL leaders and a cult leader are shown. The cult leaders don’t care about anybody but themselves, but the real leaders, Zeke and Hunter, care deeply. As Pagans, we join small groups and need to be extremely aware of whether our group leader is functioning as a cult leader or if they have the community’s best interests in mind. How many of us have heard of a High Priest or Priestess who abused members for money, favors, or even sex?

The magical lesson of this besides enjoying good humor and clever writing, is to choose your leaders wisely. NEVER let anybody else think for you. No human being is all powerful, or a god or goddess. Run like hell if somebody tries to take your power of choice away and puts themselves on the place f a god who would control you. Unfortunately for some characters in this film, they didn’t think for themselves, and it was disastrous for them.

As Pagans, many of us stepped away from toxic religious groups and their dangerous ideologies. Maybe we were not in a doomsday cult, but we still freed ourselves to go into a life of being who we are and believing as we felt right, never looking back.

In this film, no ending was given, but Zeke said “This is just the beginning!”, opening the way for a sequel, you will surely want to watch for.

A last word- I have known Mulliken from birth, as he is my nephew. I remember when I was in high school and he was in elementary school, we would sit and draw pictures together. Seeing his professional creations and remembering that he has been creating since he could pick up a magic marker makes this film all the more enjoyable for me- but I’d like it even if he wasn’t my own flesh and blood.

He sent me the link to Berserkers, and said “Watch your nephew’s movie.” I did and I’m glad.

Now, I’m telling you – watch my nephew’s movie. You will be glad you did too.

To enjoy this great film, check Amazon today, here.

Watch Berserkers | Prime Video (amazon.com)

 

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About the Author:

Saoirse is a practicing witch, and initiated Wiccan of an Eclectic Tradition.

A recovered Catholic, she was raised to believe in heaven and hell, that there is only one god, and only one way to believe. As she approached her late 20’s, little things started to show her this was all wrong. She was most inspired by the saying “God is too big to fit into one religion” and after a heated exchange with the then associate pastor of the last Xtian church she attended, she finally realized she was in no way Xtian, and decided to move on to see where she could find her spiritual home.

Her homecoming to her Path was after many years of being called to The Old Ways and the Goddess, and happened in Phoenix, Arizona. She really did rise from her own ashes!

Upon returning to Ohio, she thought Chaos Magic was the answer, and soon discovered it was actually Wicca. She was blessed with a marvelous mentor, Lord Shadow, and started a Magical Discussion Group at local Metaphysical Shop Fly By Night. The group was later dubbed A Gathering of Paths. For a few years, this group met, discussed, did rituals, fellowship, and volunteering together, and even marched as a Pagan group with members of other groups at the local gay Pride Parade for eight years.

All the while, she continued studying with her mentor, and is still studying for Third Degree, making it to Second Degree thus far.

She is a gifted tarot reader, spellworker, teacher, and was even a resident Witch at a Westerville place dubbed The Parlor for a time.

Aside from her magical practice, she is a crocheter, beader, painter, and a good cook. She has been a clown and children’s entertainer, a Nursing Home Activities Professional, a Cavern Tour Guide, a Retail Cashier, and a reader in local shops. Her college degree is a BA in English Writing. She tried her hand at both singing and playing bagpipes, and…well…let’s just say her gifts lie elsewhere! She loves gardening, reading, antiques, time with friends and soul kin, and lots and lots of glorious color bedecking her small home!

On the encouragement of a loved one several years back, she searched for a publication to write for, and is right at home at PaganPagesOrg.

She is currently residing in Central Ohio with her husband, and furbabies.

Saoirse can be contacted at [email protected].