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Indie Stream: New Films From Neil LaBute and Joe Swanberg Hit VOD

Some Velvet Morning Eve Tucci Still - H 2013
Stanley Tucci and Alice Eve in "Some Velvet Morning"

A sexy horror film and a CIA drug experiment gone wrong round out a lively week.

This week in VOD is marked by two notable indie horror films. First up is The Banshee Chapter, which takes a conspiracy theorist's paranoia and blows it up into a very scary movie. Banshee is based on real documents, actual test-subject testimony and uncovered secrets about covert programs run by the CIA to create mind-altering drugs. The fictional story is about a journalist searching for a friend who goes missing after taking these top secret government chemicals. The film stars Ted Levine (The Silence of the Lambs), Katia Winter (TV's Sleepy Hollow) and Michael McMillian (True Blood). This is writer-director Blair Erickson's first feature, but Erickson has been a big player in the growing world of transmedia, including writing and directing eight live-action online episodes of The Terminator for Fox.

You might have already heard about the Spanish-language horror film Here Comes the Devil based on its NSFW trailer that came out a few weeks ago. Devil is partially an ode to psychological horror films of the 1970s, but it's also a midnight film that promises plenty of blood and sex. The story is about a pair of siblings who go missing on a hike in the Tijuana mountains. When their thankful parents eventually find them, they are relieved, until they realize there's now something a little demonic about their teenagers. Reviews for Here Comes the Devil are mixed, but -- and this is a big but -- the positive reviews promise a unique, atmospheric film that horror fans will relish.

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The Banshee Chapter and Here Comes the Devil are available today across all major VOD platforms.

Some Velvet Morning starts with Fred (Stanley Tucci) showing up at the Brooklyn brownstone of his ex-mistress Velvet (Alice Eve) to announce he's left his wife. After four years apart, Fred and Velvet have a lot to talk about. What follows is an 82-minute film with only two actors and one location, resulting in a rollercoaster of emotions. The film is claustrophobic, intense and packed with barb-filled dialogue -- in other words, it's a Neil LaBute movie. Reviews are predictably split as the playwright-director-screenwriter has strong supporters and detractors alike among critics. Though, as is often the case for LaBute's actors, Eve and Tucci are getting near universal raves for their performances.

Some Velvet Morning hits theaters today but has been available online (currently #35 on iTunes indie charts) since Tuesday.

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The prolific Joe Swanberg is having a pretty good couple of weeks. His new comedy Happy Christmas (starring Lena Dunham and Anna Kendrick) was selected for Dramatic Competition at Sundance. Meanwhile his newish comedy Drinking Buddies, which very well might be the VOD success story of 2013, recently became available for purchase and instantly shot back to the top of iTunes indie charts. Oh, and he has a new film out: The no-budget All of the Light in the Sky (starring and co-written by Jane Adams) hits theaters next week but is available for download now.