In writer-director Jason Lei Howden, Peter Jackson may have found a cinematic heir — at least to his patrimony of New Zealand–based, late-’80s gross-out horror-comedy. Sad metalhead Brodie (Milo Cawthorne) loves bands like Cannibal Corpse because “when life sucks and you feel alone and empty, you feel better because someone else knows the pain and rage that you’re going through.” (Why is he sad? Because his meth-addled mom attempted to fellate a store Santa, and now he’s stuck with his super-Christian relatives and their sadistic bully of a son.) But there’s also the whole demons-and-violence-and-dominion aspect to the musical genre, and what do you know, it turns out that this song he’s found can actually summon the powers of hell. Howden can be hugely entertaining when he mixes some brains and heart in with the guts and gore, which is about half the time — mostly, the first half. It’s only toward the end, when the revelations are over but the machinations aren’t, that the arterial spray and general dismemberment get tedious. (2015) — Matthew Lickona
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