Archive for October, 2015

Year Released : 1986the_fly___poster_remake_by_stevenandrew-d5hfzfh
Director : David Cronenberg
Cast : Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis and John Getz

So we’ve come to it at last, the final day of my month long look at horror films leading up to Halloween and what better way to end it than by talking about my favourite horror film, David Cronenberg’s masterpiece “The Fly”?

Much like “The Thing”, The Fly is an ingenious masterpiece and regularly tops lists of the best remakes of of all time, no mean feat indeed. Not a lot of people even realise it’s a remake, infact I work with a guy who knows more about films than anyone I know and even he didn’t know that it wasn’t a remake….then again, he is from Hull so there is somewhat of an excuse there for not known culture (even though it was comedically named as City of Culture for 2017)

The Fly regularly tops the lists of many professional critics for the best horror film of all time, as well as many body-horror film lists, and there are many a good reason for this.

Plot

Veronica (Davis) is a journalist for the Particle magazine and has been invited to the Bartok Industries meet-the-press event and she is giving up hope of meeting anyone with anything worth reporting, then she runs into the socially awkward Seth (Goldblum). Seth intrigues Veronica’s curiosity after he says that  other people only claim to be changing the world, he actually is. Following on from that she goes back to his home, which also doubles up as his lab. Veronica is unimpressed when he reveals that the three huge pods on the middle of the room are teleportation pods.

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Veronica refuses to believe it until his successfully transports a stocking from one pod to another. Seth asks Veronica to keep the story quiet so that he can complete his work, and then at the end of it she will have exclusivity for the story. Seth continues to demonstrate objects teleporting successfully but admits that he has always had trouble transporting live animals, and his latest attempt turns a baboon inside out.

The pair start a romantic relationship and the first session of sex between them proves to be an inspiration to Seth and he reprograms his machine. Seth then sends through a second baboon and this one survives without any seeming negative affects. Seth wants to celebrate with a romantic evening between the two but Veronica leaves.

Filled with rage caused by alcohol and paranoia that Veronica is getting back together with her editor and former lover, Stathis (Getz), Seth decides to test the machine without her there as revenge, even though in reality she is actually seeing Stathis regarding a threat. As this is going on, Seth climbs inside the machine to test it on himself and he successfully transports from one pod to another, but is completely unaware that a fly was in the pod at the same time. When Seth emerges from the new pod, the fly is no-where to be seen.

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Seth and Veronica reconcile their differences and the effects of the transportation seem to have rejuvenated Seth, with increased strength, stamina and sexual performance. He theorises that the transportation purified his body, but Veronica grows wary of Seth’s increasing ego and mania. She also finds stiff hairs growing out of a previously sustained wound. Seth’s ego soon turns into arrogance and violence as he tries to force Veronica to go through the teleportation herself. She refuses and claims that it has changed Seth and has made him sick. He leaves angrily.

He walks down a shopping district whilst munching on sugar based confectionary and enters a bar. Seth challenges a considerably bigger man to an arm-wrestle to claim a night of sex with his girlfriend. The man, despite being considerably larger than Seth, struggles to even nudge his arm, with Seth almost looking bored. Set decides to put an end to it and forces the opponent’s arm so hard it results in a compound fracture. After a night of sex, Seth tries to force the woman into teleportation, claiming it will make her pure, but she refuses and Veronica only just turns up at the last second to save her. The woman runs off.

Veronica fearfully tells Seth that the hairs that were found on his back were insect hairs and he laughs it off. After a heated tirade at Veronica, Seth forces her to leave and slams the door shut behind her. Seth retreats to the bathroom and stares at himself and notices that his skin is in considerably worse condition than he had realised, with insect hairs popping out of warts and bumps all over his face. Whilst pondering, Seth accidentally pulls one of his teeth out with seemingly no effort and he then notices that his fingernails have become detached from the nailbeds, much to his disgust and he realises that something is very wrong.

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He hurriedly analyses the information from the computer about his teleportation and it’s only at this point that Seth realises a fly was in the machine with him. After several calculations, the computer reveals that it has fused Seth and the fly at the molecular-genetic level, meaning that Seth will eventually turn into something else. A sense of fear grips Seth.

Four weeks pass when Ronnie goes around to Seth’s attic at his request. When she arrives she finds a considerably deteriorated Seth, who now has faded skin, a rapidly balding head, a slightly hunched appearance and requires two sticks to allow him to walk. He tells Veronica about what has happened and theorises that he is neither human or fly, but rather a merger of the two, and he starts referring to himself as Brundlefly. Seth also goes to eat a donut but vomits all over it. His ear also falls off after briefly touching it and he begs Veronica for help.

She returns several days later to record what is happening to Seth and finds that he can now move without the sticks but has a considerably more hunched appearance, noticeably less hair, a growth on the left hand side of his body, several ticks and twitches, and a considerably sunnier disposition than the last time that Veronica saw him. He acknowledges that he is becoming less and less human in both appearance and mentally, and is losing his ability for rational thinking. Seth explains why he vomits over food to the video camera in a video that is then watched by Stathis. He is disgusted by what he sees before Veronica runs in the door having found out that she is pregnant with Seth’s baby, and is deathly afraid that she only become pregnant after Seth went through the machine.

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Several weeks then go by and Seth’s body is barely recogniseable anymore due to several deforming bumps, the loss of his penis, his bottom cheeks fusing together, several fingers fusing together, and various others. Veronica visits him to tell him that she is pregnant and is driven to tears at Seth’s mental deterioration as he starts to talk about becoming an insect politician. He doesn’t reveal that he has come up with a plan to fuse two subjects together into one body, in theory allowing him to be human again.

Veronica dreams that she gives birth to a giant maggot and forces Stathis to take her to a doctor there and then, but Seth kidnaps her before the abortion can be carried out. Stathis goes to Seth’s lab to find them but he is caught by Seth, and he responds to the intrusion of Stathis by vomiting on his hand and ankle, causing both to melt. Seth goes to vomit on Stathis’ face but Veronica saves him at the last second with pleas of mercy. Seth pleads with her to keep the baby as it might be the only thing that is left of his humanity but Veronica refuses as she is afraid it will be a mutant. It is at this point that Seth reveals his fusion plan as he desperately tries to find an end to his misery.

He grabs Veronica’s hand but she fights back and accidentally tears Seth’s jaw from his face. This start’s Seth’s final transformation into the human-fly hybrid. Now stronger than he previously frailed body would allow, Seth forces Veronica into a pod and he enters another, but Stathis manages to rescue her with seconds to spare by shooting the power cable to the pod. Seth climbs out of his body but doesn’t get fully away on time and his is sent to the third pod with part of his pod’s door.

Seth emerges from the new pod and is now fused with chunks of the pod. He crawls towards Veronica and Stathis, picking up the end of the shotgun that Veronica is now holding with his pincer-like claw. He holds it against his head in a plea for death. Veronica tearfully refuses to do so before inevitably pulling the trigger to end Seth’s suffering.

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So why is The Fly such a well made horror film?

The true horror of The Fly is not that it’s a body horror film, it’s not because it’s a creature film, it’s that it’s an emotional tour-de-force of the breakdown of a person’s humanity.

As time goes on and Seth’s body starts letting him down in more ways than one (such as his voice no longer being recognised by his computer), the true horror comes with him desperately trying to hang on to his humanity and the ultimate irony of that desperation seemingly hurrying up the loss of what he is trying to keep.

For example, in his desperation just before his final transformation, Seth forces Veronica into a pod in the hopes that it would return him to a human form, or at least his DNA in the form of unborn child helping him effectively reset, however, Veronica still had her clothes on and the resulting splicing and combination of her, Seth and the baby, as well as the clothes that Veronica was wearing, would have more than likely been an even worse monstrosity.

Seth had previously been a methodical and meticulous scientist, but his mental state meant that he didn’t consider anything about what he was trying to do in the final scenes and it was a plan of delusion and desperation, something that pre-Fly Seth wouldn’t have even considered because of how unnecessarily risky it was.

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The character goes through a very strange emotional development throughout the film. Each time you see him at a new stage of transformation he is at different places emotionally. Before he realises what is happening to him he is elated and self-congratulatory, then after he does eventually realises he goes through fear, despair, acceptance, emotional desperation and then angry desperation, all of which are brought to life by Goldblum’s performance.

Jeff Goldblum gives a near perfect performance as Seth Brundle and he brings the character alive. It would have been easy to overplay the role and make it almost a parody of the situation, but Goldblum nails it at every stage of the character’s transformation, ranging from his initial socially awkward nature, right through to the final scenes of desperation just before the character goes though the final transformation.

Don’t get me wrong, the performances of Davis and Getz are also commendable, and all three of the actors bring the story to life, but to suggest that Goldblum isn’t the standout performer of the three would be pure farce. Whilst I could pick many different scenes in which to show you to reflect Goldblum’s performance, this is always the scene that stands out most for me as it shows the true delusion of the character of Seth and although it only lasts a few seconds, Goldblum’s mannerisms, eyes and general body language give the perfect impression of a man who is going through a bit of megalomania.

Moving away from Goldblum’s tour-de-force performance, the pacing is nigh on perfect as well as the film isn’t in a rush to show you Seth’s transformation. It takes you there gradually and it takes the time to build up the characters, although Stathis definitely takes a back seat to Seth and Veronica, but you get to know all three characters reasonably well.

Although I haven’t watched it for a while, I’m pretty certain that Seth doesn’t even realise that he’s transforming until at least half way through the 96 minute run time, and this allows plenty of time for the characters to actually become people that you care about. They’re not suffocated by having the situation to deal with straight away.

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Summary

The Fly is comfortably one of the best horror movies every made and this is because of many reasons, including the excellent pacing, the indepth look into how a perfectly reasonable person loses all approvedrationality when in a desperate situation, and most importantly, a superb, tour-de-force style performance from Jeff Goldblum.

Goldblum steals the show and brings a performance that makes it obvious why he went on to become the highest grossing film star of all time (according to an article I read some time ago). That’s not to say that Getz and Davis did a bad job either, but the undoubted star of the film is Goldblum.

This is one of the easiest approved stamps I’ve ever given and it is also the perfect way to end my month long look at horror films.

Happy Halloween 🙂

 

Year Released : 2012aftershock-2
Director : Nicolas Lopez
Cast : Eli Roth, Andrea Osvart, Ariel Levy, Nicolás Martínez, Lorenza Izzo and Natasha Yarovenko

So the other day I reviewed Green Inferno and it was a big surprise for me. I thought the cast did a great job and then I watched “Knock Knock” again soon afterwards, and I started noticing that Eli Roth used several actors from Green Inferno in that. I then decided to look into it a bit and a healthy number of the cast were in a film called Aftershock together.

It also appears that Nicolás Martínez got a bigger role in this film and this personally excited me. I thought his performance in Green Inferno was excellent. He pretty much looks exactly like my friend Andy…if Andy was bald.

So here we go then, the penultimate review for this month of horror films is one that I’m looking forward to, then again, I find myself struggling to like films I get overly excited for and end up being horrendously disappointed. In the upcoming review of mainstream films of 2015 you will notice that is a relatively common film.

Plot

Gringo (Roth) is in Chile for the summer with native friends Pollo (Martínez) and Ariel (Levy). He is actively looking for love and his numerous attempts at flirting with women don’t go well. One evening the group meets three women that they all see as potential lovers, the Russian Irina (Yarovenko) and the very different half-sisters Kyle (Izzo) and Monica (Osvart). The six decide to tour together and they have fun around the city.

Whilst a party, Gringo and Irina bond over both having children and everything seems to be going well for the rest of the group until an earthquake collapses half of the building. The group struggles to get out alive and Ariel loses one of his hands whilst trying to save a woman that he was flirting with. Soon an air siren sounds out over the city and Pollo notes that this means that a tsunami is heading towards the city. With Ariel suffering from shock the group successfully manages to put him on a tram system that will take him to the top of a hill, making him theoretically safe from the tsunami, however, the operator overloads it and it falls back to the group under the weight, killing everyone.

A distraught Pollo doesn’t know what to do and has to be convinced by Gringo and Irina to continue on, however, a new danger presents itself when the group finds out that the earthquake allowed the inmates at the local prison to escape.

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Was it as good as I had hoped?

The film divides into three acts effectively and each is a very distinctive style of selection of a narrative. The first is almost like a tourism advert for Chile, the second is the disaster part of the movie and the third is the running from the horror part, so when I’m thinking about if it’s as good as I hope then I effectively have to consider was I engaged during all three acts, and the answer is no.

So let’s start with the first part and that is effectively a tourism advert, much like Lord of the Rings was for New Zealand in many ways. Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with that, but nothing really happens in that opening section of the film, a section that lasts roughly 35 minutes, other than showing you images of a relatively unknown country in terms of film. However, it does actually work for me in many ways because whilst not a lot is actually happening, you get a great chance to get to know the characters.

I found most of the characters to be fairly enjoyable to watch, although Monica is just awful and *spoiler alert* it is severely disappointing that she is the only character who makes it to the end of the film *spoiler ends*. The relationship between her and Kylie is something that you’ve seen numerous times in many films, and you knew as soon as you find out that they don’t like each other that they would suddenly find a way to love each other by the end of the film.

Whilst that part of the film was predictable, the character of Pollo, played brilliantly by Nicolás Martínez, was wonderfully developed. He starts off as an hilarious character that can easily offend anyone he meets, such as pretending he’s thrilled to see a girl who he had had sex with a few days earlier, and then when she is in the middle of trying to talk to him, he just wanders off in a “We’ve had sex, I’m done with you now” sort of manner. Throughout the film the character changes quite a lot and he is almost a completely different character after Ariel dies.

If there is one thing to come from the Green Inferno and Aftershock to be excited about then it is Nicolás Martínez, he was fantastic in both.

aftershock-5

Onto the second act and what could best be described as the disaster part of the movie. To be honest this offers precisely nothing that you haven’t already seen before, other than being a bit gorier than normal. It is a bit predictable as, for example, the tram that is going to take Ariel to the top of the hill eventually collapses back to the ground, and this was incredibly predictable because you already saw in the film that it was struggling under the weight of six people, and now it’s loaded with a lot more. It takes some of the tension out of that part of the film.

And finally we get onto the third act and the group running from the escaped prisoners and there are many aspects to this that I enjoyed, whereas there are others that I found considerably tedious. For example, I love that during this section you get characters dying well before the end of the film that you thought would last all of the way through, and the threat feels very genuine because the prisoners don’t fuck around with killing people or harming them…….but the problem is all of the prisoners are shown as wanting to rape and steal everything. Now, I know pretty much nothing about Chile or it’s culture, but the film seems to be suggesting that all prisoners in the country are interested in is raping, stealing and killing. Were no prisoners simply in there for something that didn’t involve one of the three?

During this section of the film is also a stupid death. Without telling you which character is, they get pinned down by a huge slab and then the prisoners come along, covering him with alcohol and threaten to burn them. The prisoners then see one of the female characters and decide to rape them, this character who is pinned down decides to simply throw a rock at them. The person that the character throws it at turns around and the character on fire. What did they expect to happen in that situation?

aftershock-03

Summary

Aftershock isn’t an awful film by any stretch but there are a lot of bits that I found myself not enjoying.

Nicolás Martínez is fantastic and those that were with him in Green Inferno were also largely enjoyable, but even Martínez performance can’t mask the flaws of the film. It would help if *spoiler alert* the most boring character is the only one that survives.

If you have a spare 90 minutes and want to watch a disaster film then you could do worse than Aftershock, but you could also do a lot better.

Year Released : 2014MV5BMTQ3NDE1MDgxMF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDg2NzA4MjE@._V1_SX214_AL_
Director : Turner Clay
Cast : Justin Ray, Jerod Meagher, Dennis Leech, Ron Hanks and Michael Taber.

So I’m finally coming to the end of my month of horror films leading up to Halloween and I’ve decided that one of the final ones will be one that’s been on my “Films I Want to Watch” playlist on Youtube for a while, zombie film Disaster L.A. I thought it looked reasonable but the reviews have been very negative and the score on IMDB is a pitiful 3.6/10 (at the time of writing).

However, I’ve decided to stick with it for the reason that I’ve reviewed plenty of films that have looked crap and have had poor ratings and been left surprised. I’m not going to lie, I get the feeling that it’s not going to be the case this time but you never know.

So let’s get on with it then, three days and three reviews to go and then I can sit and relax.

Plot

A group of friends has recently relocated to Los Angeles and they are all enjoying life in their new city, although slacker Turner (Meagher) is the only one who has failed to secure work. The group are at a party when the ex-girlfriend of John (Ray) turns up with her new boyfriend. The two get into an argument and she leaves.

Soon after the group sees a report stating that a meteor that had previously gone unnoticed will pass by the Earth, just avoiding it. When the meteor passes L.A becomes covered in a strange smog. Everything seems fine at first and the smog passes, although Adam (Taber) is now feeling very ill.

Reports start to reach the group of people being attacked around the city and the news is now advising them to stay indoors and not interact with anyone. The group witnesses first hand one of their friends turning and decide that they must leave as soon as possible, although John refuses to leave without checking his ex is fine.

What’s the worst that could happen?

DISASTER LA 3

Better than I was expecting?

No, definitely not. Disaster LA tries it’s hardest to come up with a relatively new take on the zombie apocalypse theme and whilst the “radiation from a comet” is a new one as far as I’m aware, the rest of the film is just so lackluster that you end up laughing more than feeling scared.

The film just looks terrible and is not hiding it’s low budget very well, for example, when the news of the new meteor/comet comes on the news (something which NASA somehow managed to miss apparently), they show you the moon and because it’s got such a low resolution they think they can get away with saying that it’s the comet/meteor and it blatantly isn’t.

That’s just one of a plethora of carelessness throughout the film, others include characters just glaring at the zombies when they are hurtling towards them, zombies literally coming out of nowhere in the middle of the car park (massive open space, clearly nothing around on the wide angle, and then a zombie appears as if they’ve been there all along), the mild indifference when they see each other being eaten, and two far more idiotic levels of disregard that I’m going to focus on now.

DISASTER LA 2

There is a scene where a character is being chased down stairs by a set of zombies and the very fact I can’t remember the name of that character should tell you all you need to know about how much I care about his fate. He opens the door and then stands on the other side, holding it in place whilst the zombies desperately try and get through, however, when he runs off it’s shown that the door was actually a push door from the side he was pushing against. The side he is on is the push side of a door, so pushing it would have completely the opposite impact of what he’s trying to achieve and would allow the zombies in easily, especially as he starts pushing against it well before the zombies that are coming down the stairs catch up to him…..and yet no-one involved in the film seems to have noticed this.

And then, about 20 minutes from the end, the surviving characters are driving through a car park before seeing a zombie, slamming their breaks on and panicking as they don’t want to run them over. They then shout at her to move out of their way, almost as if she is blocking the entire road, the only problem with that is that she isn’t at all. There is at least 25 feet either side of her so they could have easily driven around, avoiding hitting her whilst also getting away. Their car is then stolen after they stop, yet there was no need to stop as they don’t have any space in the car. It’s just so feckless about it’s own logic, and the characters are so incredibly stupid, that you stop caring about them.

I liken that scene to the one in Austin Powers where he is on a steam roller, a guard is terrified he is about to get run over and doesn’t move through fear…and yet the steam roller is still a fair distance away and is going at a snail’s pace. It’s the same level of character stupidity and there’s no horror in a film where people are supposedly trying to avoid death, but who’s every action seems almost designed to put them in danger.

The “horror” throughout feels unnecessarily forced, convoluted and most definitely not scary. It just doesn’t flow at any point and everything feels beyond forced, and because of this I struggled to enjoy the film on any level, and I can see why it’s got such a low rating on IMDB.

I wouldn’t even be so bothered if it hadn’t blatantly stolen a major plot point from Cloverfield. Before they claim that they didn’t, both films have characters that are trying to survive events caused by extra-terrestrial bodies after a party celebrating their relocation. Soon the ex-girlfriend turns up with her new boyfriend and the main character gets jealous. When the main plot of the story starts occurring, the characters know that they must leave the now army-filled and quarantined city as possible, but the main character must go into an apartment building and find his ex-girlfriend. Later on in the film they are re-united and barely make it out alive. Granted, it’s not the main plot of either film, but that is a large portion of Cloverfield’s plot that Disaster L.A has stolen.

It is basically a lower budget, much crapper version of Cloverfield.

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Summary

If you can switch off all common sense, logic and all that you’ve ever been taught about basic physics then you will probably enjoy Disaster L.A, but if you are capable of thought and reason then there’s not a chance that you will enjoy this film. It is beyond ridiculous.

When you make such stupid mistakes then you can’t be taken seriously, and even worse is having characters that look at a zombie that’s running towards then and seemingly not even be slightly alarmed.

If you’re going to watch this, do so in the knowledge that you’ll probably laugh at it’s stupidity more than being scared.

I can smell them cooking my friend!

Year Released : 2013Green-Inferno-poster
Director : Eli Roth
Cast : Lorenza Izzo, Ariel Levy, Daryl Sabara, Kirby Banton, Magda Apanowicz, Nicolas Martinez, Aaron Burns and Ignacia Allaman

Every once in a while you hear about a film and you just know that it’s going to be controversial, and that’s how I felt when I first heard about Eli Roth’s Green Inferno, which is many ways seems very similar to the first ever found footage style movie, Cannibal Holocaust.

I often mind myself enjoying films that are deemed controversial more than your stereotypical films. These are the films that push the boundaries and make you really experience something relatively new and exciting. This also helps with the films being original and you can tell that if a lot of people are getting offended then it’s something that they haven’t seen before, and that is always exciting.

The film also stars Lorenza Izzo, an actress who was fantastic in “Knock Knock”, another Eli Roth film and a contender for my top ten of 2015. Her portrayal in that was magnetic and if she is as good in Green Inferno then I think that this will be a decent film.

Famous last words of course.

Plot

Justine (Izzo) is awoken one morning by a protest group led by Alejandro (Levy) outside of her room. After investigating she realises that it’s a group trying to stop the destruction of part of the Amazon and more specifically the home of a native tribe. Justine decides to attend the group to find out more and signs up for a trip down to Peru, a trip designed to show the word just what the destruction crew are doing and how they treat people who protest. The group successfully completes their protest and broadcast it to the world, but Justine is unimpressed as she is purposefully given a lock that wouldn’t shut and is seemingly set up to be a martyr, much to the disgust of Daniel (Martinez).

The group are let go and board the plane to take them back to the main airport, but the front of plane explodes midflight and they crash land in the middle of the Amazon. Several team members are killed on impact, and others notice that a group are heading towards them. Several of the team are shot with darts and collapse, whereas others are outright killed by bows and arrows. The surviving group members are taken to the village of the tribe that they were protesting for earlier in the film.

Whilst most of the surviving group members are placed into a cage, Jonah (Burns) is taken to a alter and although everything seems find at first, a village elder comes, gouges out his eyes and cuts off his tongue before eating them. Screaming in pain, Jonah’s limbs are then amputated before he is finally beheaded.

The rest of the group knows that they must find a way to escape, but with tranqualiser-armed villagers watching them, there doesn’t appear to be an easy way out and it isn’t long before the infighting starts.

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Genuinely controversial or false hype?

For a long time during the run time of just shy of 100 minutes (opening credits to the start of the end credits), I really found myself getting bored and there wasn’t really a lot happening. I just didn’t see why the film was deemed that controversial, although I obviously knew what was to come. The first half of the film is fairly uninteresting and takes a long time to get going, but then the plane crashes and the film turns into a visceral and far more exciting turn.

I probably wouldn’t go as far as saying the film was anything like the controversy suggested it was, but I can also see why some people would take a disliking to it as there are several very disturbing scenes once they reach the village. For example, Jonah’s gurgled screams of agony throughout the scene where he is chopped into small pieces is haunting, another character’s suicide due to the situation catches you, and you feel genuine fear for these characters.

The fear and horror element of the film doesn’t really come from the fact that they get chopped into pieces, and it’s certainly not torture porn, it’s the human emotion part of when the characters are trapped in the cage and knowing what’s coming, whilst also knowing that they are relatively powerless to stop it, that brings the true level of fear to the film. With less engaging characters this would have probably slipped into the realm of torture porn.

Much like classic horror film “The Fly”, the characters make choices that they wouldn’t normally make out of pure panic. For example, one character manages to escape the cage but without paying attention to his surroundings, he runs straight into a crowd of several dozen of the villagers and is devoured like zombies at a feast of brains. It’s a true reaction because if you’re panicked and trying to run, you’re less likely to pay attention to your surroundings. Without telling you which character it is and ruining it for you, the pure terrified nature is perfectly captured by the actor in question.

The character development throughout is strong, and for me the most enjoyable characters to watch because their huge swing in personality are Lars and Daniel, played by Daryl Sabara and Nicolas Martinez respectively.  However, despite them standing out in terms of acting ability, the most interesting character has to go to Alejando, who starts off as a mildly annoying character, but then he turns into more and more of a dick as the film goes on. To sum him up, when the characters are talking about needing time to escape, he comes out with “Look, it’s good they ate Josh first. He should last them almost a week.” The characters on the screen give a great disgusted look at him and it works so well. Just when you think he can’t stoop any lower, he surprises you.

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Infact, the characters are by far the best part about the film and even the villagers are quite intriguing to watch as when they’re not actually eating or chasing people, they act like a normal society. They chat to each other, they have grandparents explaining things to their grandchildren, they sing, so on and so forth. They’re shown to be relatively normal (for the situation) and I found that quite interesting as it would have been far, far too easy to just show them as only being cannibals and having nothing else to them, so fair play to those involved for not making them one dimensional.

And finally on the positive side, as ever with an Eli Roth film it’s about the gore, and the film certainly uses it to it’s advantage, although in a relatively realistic, there is still something extremely unnerving about the way that certain characters die, especially Jonah. At that point you’re not entirely sure exactly how brutal that the deaths will be, but each one is ferocious in nature, and even the suicide of one of the characters is captivating.

All of that being said, whilst the second half of the film is engaging and emotionally charged, the first half just leaves me feeling a bit “meh” and in all honesty, you’re just sat there waiting for the crash and everything thereafter to happen. Because of this I felt really unengaged for the first 45 or so minutes and it is definitely a slow build. Granted, they used this time to develop the characters and they do that well, but let’s face it, if you’re watching this you’re only watching it for one reason and the first 2/5 of the film seems to take a very long time to seemingly get anyway.

However, that is really my only major fault with the film really. I can’t think of too much more that I didn’t like.

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Summary

Despite a bit of a slow start, Green Inferno really catches you after the 45 minute mark with brutal violence, intriguing character relationships and realistic gore. approved

Let’s face it, there’s only one reason people are going to watch this film and that is the violence and barbaric scenes of death, and if that’s what you’re after then you won’t be disappointed….after the first 40 minutes.

Based on that I have to actually give it the approval stamp. It does what it says on the tin and it does it relatively well. I never imagined for the first 45 or so minutes that this would get the approval stamp, but after considering everything that only thing I found myself not likely was that it’s a bit slow at first, but so are films such as The Fly, The Thing and many others.

I can’t help if I don’t know what’s wrong

Year Released : 2014144666
Director : Travis Legge
Cast : Deann Baker, Terry Banks and Malcom (yes, that spelling) Banks

It’s Daylights Saving in the UK (I’m writing this on Sunday) and I was awoken from my extra hour in bed by a text from a friend that went….

“Hey Kate, I hope you’re ok? You’re going to love this, I have just seen one of the worst horror films ever. It’s soooooo bad. Wanna come around and review it?”

It was an invitation that I wasted no time accepting, and so as 7am on a Sunday morning I was at a friend’s house watching Bloom, an independent vampire movie. He had decided to pay money for it and advised me before he showed it to me that it was one of the biggest wastes of his time and cash that he’d ever had, and to come armed with a notepad.

So let’s see if it’s as bad as he suggests (I write this bit before I watch the film for those that don’t know).

Plot

Lily (Baker) wakes up following a one-night stand and is surrounded by blood. She can’t piece together the evening whilst she is making the “walk of shame” home and automatically comes to the conclusion that she must have been drugged and raped, although she can’t figure out where the blood has come from as there are no cuts or wounds anywhere on her body.

She tries to talk to her friends to try and remember what happened on the night but is unsuccessful. All of a sudden Lily struggles to eat and drink anything as everything that she puts in her mouth tastes rotten. She refuses to go to a doctor and figures that the only people that might know about who the person was and where he might be are at the club where she met him. She finds out his name, but by doing so she catches the attention of Glen (Banks) and Calvin (Bell).

The pair claim that they have information about the man and trick her into the car park. She is knocked unconscious and awakes later in the trunk of a car. Glen and Calvin threaten her and reveal that she is a vampire, and they blame her for the man’s disappearance. Now that she knows what is happening to her, can she stop it or will she succumb to the blood lust?

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Is it as bad as my friend made it out to be?

Yes, without any shadow of a doubt I can say that this is one of the worst films that I’ve watched in a long time and there are many reasons for this, including the poor acting, the tedious storyline and an exceptionally atrocious soundtrack and audio, which is where I am going to start.

The soundtrack can effectively be summed up by that it sounds like they’ve given a Casio keyboard (or any other brand of keyboard for that matter) to a five year old and asked them to come up with the tune of maybe ten notes and then repeat over and over again. The same piece of music can be heard numerous times throughout the film’s relatively short run time of just 70 minutes, and the worst part is that the terrible soundtrack is used at inappropriate moments.

This is just one of the many problems that the film has with it’s sound, and even worse is how they seem to have equipped the actors with those little microphones that people wear when doing TV interviews or panel shows, but on a few occasions some characters hug or cover up the microphone…..and then start talking, but because their microphones are covered up you can’t make out what’s being said. It’s just careless and surely someone must have noticed at some point.

Then again, not being able to hear when some of the characters are saying isn’t necessarily a bad thing as the script is tired, predictable and uninteresting, and this certainly isn’t helped by the lifeless delivery of lines from the cast, the worst of whom is Deann Baker. Baker’s character may technically be undead but that’s no reason to bring a lifeless and emotionally constipated portrayal of a character to the screen. Her face never changes expression, regardless of the emotion of the character in question at the time, and she makes Kristen Stewart look competent.

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The strange thing is that whilst she can’t act to save her life in terms of facial expressions or delivery of lines, the first time you see her she almost overacts. When she’s doing the walk of shame she puts on such a shockingly over-the-top emphasis onto this character, either that or the actress has never worn heels in her life, because it was almost like watching a toddler learning to walk.

I know that they will argue that she was suffering the ill effects of what had happened to her, or the drugs hadn’t worn off yet (if indeed to was drugged), but no, the actress quite clearly overacted given that one second she can’t walk and then the next she is doing what could effectively be described as an ultra feminine walk when actually near her house. By that I mean that she put on a walk that you would expect to see on a walk-way at a fashion show.

This film does not have a single redeeming feature other than it’s mercifully short run time, and quite frankly it is one of the worst films I think I’ve ever seen, and that’s saying something. If I was to rank all of the reviews on this site then there is a good chance that this would be near the bottom, if not bottom.

It is also interesting to see it’s IMDB score so high. I suspect this is yet another case of people involved in the film going on there and giving it a high score. This is definitely not a 4/10 and I would go as far as saying that if you took out the ratings from people who were involved in the film, it would be in the IMDB Bottom 100, it’s that bad.

 

Summary

My friend under-played just how bad Bloom really is and I am glad that I didn’t have to pay to watch it. I am curious what made me friend pay to watch it because I can’t find anything that would cause anyone to be convinced that this is worth paying for.

If you must watch it then find it online and watch it for free, because it’s not worth wasting your hard earned money on, it’s really that bad. Yes, it’s so bad that I am actively encouraging you all to illegally download it if you must insist on watching it.

Don’t be surprised if you feel like you’ve wasted your money if you do make the mistake of paying for this trash.

I told everyone that we should leave hours ago and no-one listened to me!

Year Released : 2015classroom6-poster1
Director : Jonas Odenheimer
Cast : Valentina Kolaric, Vince Major and Mike McLaughlin

It’s a found footage film. It’s a blatant rip off of other films. It’s got nothing remotely original about it. It’s Classroom 6.

I’ve not even started watching the film yet and I already know that I won’t enjoy this. I am literally only watching this in an attempt to maintain my run of posting a horror review every single day during October. I certainly wouldn’t be watching it otherwise.

I know that it might be strange for those that haven’t read my reviews before when I tell you that I write this section before I watch the film, but I am just tired of found footage films following the same formulaic plot and although I could easily be wrong, the trailer for Classroom 6 shows that it offers precisely nothing new and rips off other films such as Grave Encounters, Hollows Grove and many others in that it’s about a TV crew that go into an abandoned building, or section of a building, after hearing rumours of hauntings and mysterious goings on, only then not to be able to escape as spirits/demons/whatever hunt them down.

Then again, I could be completely wrong and it could be the most original film that I’ve ever seen……I think we all know that’s not going to be the case.

Plot

Annie (Kolaric) is an ambitious news reporter and she is determined to prove her worth by staying in a supposedly haunted school to get a story about it. She and her cameraman, Kurt (Major) recruit a team to go into the school with, including psychic Jack (Dogget). Kurt consistently mocks Jack about his belief in the paranormal and how he goes out about his ESP.

The group enters the school and voluntarily get locked in, not being allowed out until the janitor returns in the following morning. Jack reveals his method of finding ghosts via the means of a compass and throwing a tennis ball into rooms, but none of his first few attempts prompt a response from the spirits.

Despite Jack regularly feeling the presence of spirits and numerous unusual noises being heard throughout the buildings, no-one sees any proof of spirits actually existing and they all become convinced that the whole rumours of spirits was made up by the school to garner attention. That belief soon changes however when a spirit violently returns one of the tennis balls that Jack threw into the room.

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So, a blatant rip off or something original?

Original? Ha! I could near enough literally copy and paste the review that I posted of some other films of a very similar nature, but there has to at least be something associated to this film that is original.

So based on that let’s start with something that tells you how careless the writers are and that is that you find out within the first few minutes that the characters don’t make it out. Yep, within the first few minutes you already know how the 76 minute film will pan out, as if you didn’t know already. This is presented by an interview with Annie’s boss in which he clearly states, in a completely unambiguous way, that she was never seen again after going into Classroom 6.

That would be like me going into a screening of the original Star Wars trilogy and telling people within the first five minutes the major points of the three films (i/e Luke blows up Death Star, turns out Vader’s his dad, Vader eventually helps son (does it for him) kill the emperor, everyone celebrates and gives Vader a funeral like he hadn’t had a heavy hand in the deaths of millions, if not billions, of lives).

Don’t tell me within the first few minutes how a film will end because you’re giving me absolutely no motivation to stay with a film that I very much doubt I’m going to enjoy anyway. Don’t get me wrong, it tells you at the beginning of the trailer too that they all disappear, but assuming that someone starts watching your film without having seen that trailer, don’t ruin it for them early on.

You can tell just how much I’ve just talked about this how much it has pissed me off. It somehow managed to ruin a film that I knew I wasn’t going to enjoy anyway.

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For a film that lasts for just 76 minutes from the beginning of the film to the end of the credits, it’s amazing how much time they have spent trying to establish the storyline through exposition. There is a ten minute period just after the half hour period that is pretty much just Jack explaining the situation and what he does to detect if there are spirits around. In other words, he explains why he carries a load of tennis balls. They spend 10 minutes of a 76 minute film talking about why a guy throws tennis balls and how it will show him spirits.

Despite all of this and his tests, it takes far, far, far too long for the ghosts to actually make any semblance of an appearance and even then it is just by one of them moving a table slightly. It takes 49 minutes and 56 seconds of a 76 minute run time for the spirits to actually show up with something that you can actually see. Before then the presence of the ghosts is just described to us by Jack as he describes that a ghost was in a room, then left….then came back and left again. Riveting stuff.

It takes 57 minutes for the spirits to actually become violent and start attacking the characters and at nearly 4/5 into the film is far, far, far too late for the characters to face the actual horror element of the film, and even then that horror element just isn’t scary.

And finally, the characters are just bland, with the worst of all being Kurt, who seems to get offended by anything and everything. There is a scene where he is filming a current employee of the school and can’t help but play with the zoom button, nor can he keep the camera even remotely still during the interview, and yet he then has the arrogance to tell Annie that his isn’t an amateur and knows that he is doing. Quite frankly no-one that incompetent would be hired by a professional news company, making the character’s inclusion in the story farcical.

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Summary

I’m not even going to try and patronise you by talking at length about my feelings about this film because it doesn’t really need a summary.

If you’ve seen the other films that the writer has plagiarised then you have seen this. There is nothing original about this story whatsoever and if I was the team behind Grave Encounters, Hollows Grove, etc, I would be contacting my legal team.

Just don’t waste your time.

Once you go Norse, you’ll never remorse

Year Released : 2014file_605864_burying-the-ex-poster-640x948
Director : Joe Dante
Cast : Anton Yelchin, Alexander Daddario and Ashley Greene

It occured to me that what I haven’t done a lot of during this run of horror films is review a horror film that is mixed with another genre, and based on that I have decided to go with comedy horror “Burying the Ex”.

I must admit that I first heard of this around a year ago and wasn’t interested in it whatsoever, but I’ve decided to give it a chance because I figure “what’s the worst that could happen?”

As well as the above, it occured to me recently that despite having featured in two of the biggest sci-fi franchises of all time (Star Trek and the Terminator), Anton Yelchin has never really kicked on as you would expect, and he has a considerable lack of hits, so it’ll be interesting to see if I can spot a reason why this is the case, if indeed it’s caused by anything other than a personal choice on behalf of him. I would also recommend one of his other films (Alpha Dog) as he is excellent in that.

Plot

Max (Yelchin) works at a local gothic accessories shop and thinks nothing of it when he takes a delivery of a seemingly harmless model of a genie. He places it to one side but it is later found by his vegan girlfriend, Evelyn (Greene), and again without thinking anything of it, the two make a promise to be together forever. Neither notices the model’s eyes turn red and it start smoking. Soon after they go to get ice cream as a store that sells horror-named ice cream (such as Frankenberry) and Evelyn launches into a rant at Olivia (Daddario), the server behind the counter.

The two of them get into a fight and in his absense, Evelyn re-decorates their apartment to be 100% environmentally friendly, including folding up Max’s previously pristine movie posters. After talking to his brother, Max phones Evelyn to make things up and asks her to go to the local dog park with him so that they can talk, but Evelyn fails to look properly when crossing the road and she is battered into by a bus. Evelyn dies minutes later.

Soon after the funeral Max runs into Olivia again. They start a relationship, although Max doesn’t tell her what happened to Evelyn, but whilst walking through a cemetery together, Evelyn resurrects. She visits Max and he is understandably terrified and confused. Evelyn reveals that she now knows that her resurrection was caused by the genie status, but she now have considerable more insufferable than before and he must find a way to rid her from his life.

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So were my initial instincts of not being interesting correct?

I am mixed on Burying the Ex because it has a lot of positive and very macabre moments, but there are other sections of the film which were tedious beyond the point of reasonability.

Let’s start with the positives and Anton Yelchin again delivers for me as the socially awkward guy that can’t find it in his heart to tell his girlfriend how he feels, even when she’s turned into the undead and doing various sex acts to her is effectively necrophilia. Much like a lot of his other roles, he effectively catches the nervy nature of the character and the insecurities contained within. Yelchin was perfectly cast in the role as the guy with an unusual taste in things, such as his choice of job. He is becoming getting to that point where I expect him to be cast in a socially awkward, or ambitious nerd/geeky style character.

In terms of the actual film itself, whilst not fantastic it kept me interested for a long period of time and although it did feel a little dragged out towards the end, it was at least a relatively original concept and was unlike anything I had seen before (at least nothing that I can think of off of the top of my head anyway). For that I give it a lot of kudos, it was trying something relatively new, and again, I will cavaet that by saying that I can’t think of anything similar, so my apologies if I am incorrect with that statement.

The soundtrack is also very effective and at first I thought Phosphorscent’s “Song for Zula” was a strange choice for a song to be playing over a funeral, but then as it transitions into Max’s mourning for Evelyn it actually starts working very well. I had never heard the song before, but having listened back to it since watching the film I can definitely say it fits the mood of the scene excellently.

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Now that the pleasantries are over, it’s time to get onto the negatives and I have to start with the biggest question that comes to mind and that is why were Max and Evelyn ever together? They have precisely nothing in common and I refuse to believe that they would have ever gotten together in any situation as they are just that different. She thinks he needs to grow up from his fascination over gothic/macabre stuff, and he gets increasingly frustrated with her veganism and obsession with the environment. It’s hard to emotionally get invested in a couple that you’re never convinced should be together anyway.

Then we get onto the complete irrelevance of Oliver Cooper’s Travis to the story, other than a bit of comic relief. You could take the character out of the film and the majority of the story wouldn’t even be slightly impacted at all. The character is just the stereotypical slacker style character that you get in a lot of these types of film and if there’s something that I never want to see in horror films, it’s stereotypical and cliched characters.

Despite my earlier praise of Yelchin’s portrayal of the character, the character in question is somewhat tedious to watch. His life would be so much easier if he truly wanted it to be and it wouldn’t have been too hard for Max to actually tell people the reality of the situations. For example, there is no actual reason for him not to tell Olivia that Evelyn is dead. I can understand him not wanting to tell Evelyn that he wants to break up with her because he’s scared, but there is genuinely no reason for him to keep Evelyn’s death from Olivia.

Infact, it’s almost like two completely different films as before her death it is just a mildly annoying comedy-horror, but afterwards it starts bordering on tedium as Evelyn keeps referencing to people that she is already dead without actually telling people she’s dead. This becomes a common theme throughout the entire film as for some reason people just start skirting around the issue.

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Summary

Burying the Ex just seems to have several issues with various aspects of it’s story and although it flows relatively nicely and keeps me interested in the story, it is obvious why it’s only got average marks on IMDB. It’s not awful by any stretch, but it has too many issues to even start considering giving it the approval stamp.

All of the characters’ issues could have easily been solved if Max just told people how he feels, and that is why the film ultimately didn’t work for me. It relies entirely on Max being unable to tell people the truth of the situation.

Watch it if you must but there are far better zombie films out there.

 

You took a crap in the back yard!

Year Released : 2015bastard_2015
Directors : Powell Robinson and Patrick Robert Young
Cast : Dan Creed, Will Tranfo, Ellis Greer, Rebekah Kennedy, Tonya Kay and Burt Culver

24 days into my month long look at horror films and I move onto the first film that I’ve seen in a while that has what some would describe as a swear word in it, although from what I understand it is used in the context of the literal meaning of bastard, rather than how Inglorious Basterds used it….that and it’s spelt correctly.

I am also reasonably optimistic that Bastard will actually be decent given that it has a very high (for an independent horror film) rating on IMDB, albeit from less than 100 voters, so in that sense I reckon that this might be a genuine gem of a horror film from a dying sub-genre (the wording from the trailer).

Then again, high scores on IMDB don’t necessarily mean anything.

Plot

Hannah (Greer) and West (Creed) are travelling serial killers and regularly con people before killing them. Their latest kill sees them take out Max (Micah Fitzgerald) and steal his car. Whilst driving aimlessly and planning their next kill, they run into Betty (Kennedy) and Jake (Tranfo), a couple that are running away from the latter’s abusive father. Despite Hannah’s objections, West agrees to give them a lift to the next town.

They arrive in a run down town with very little to it. Hannah and West plan their next victims as they are told that a concert that they had planned was booked at the wrong address, and all four of the group makes their way to the local hotel and meet Rachael (Kay), a seemingly friendly enough woman. She welcomes them with open arms.

Soon thereafter suicidal cop Michael (Culver) finds the body of the bar tender that rejects Hannah and West, as well as the girl that he was about to have sex with. He warns all about the dangers and warns them to be careful, but he agrees to join in with Rachael’s hike the following morning. West suddenly disappears and it isn’t long into the hike that the group realises that one of them is a killer, and it’s not Hannah as she barely survives an attack.

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A decent horror film?

Bastard starts with an absolute bang and feels very old school in nature with it’s approach to dialogue and the opening credits. At that point I was very excited about potentially seeing an excellent addition to the horror genre.

The first five or so minutes of the film are by far the most entertaining as it leads you down the path of thinking that Hannah and Max are going to have sex, then West shows up in a seemingly innocent manner and places his guitar in the back of his car. This kills Max’s enthusiasm for the situation and then he realises that true extent of the relationship between Hannah and West, and he is swiftly killed before old-school style credits rolled.

One of the many reasons that this worked was that far too often a character will threaten to hurt another character and then never do it, often sodding about before never being able to do it, but it was a refreshing change to see what I call “The Martin Keamy Effect” (Google Martin Keamy), in other words, actually killing someone without comprising on your promise to do so. West doesn’t fuck around and kills Max with what looks like a spike before he has a chance to fight back.

The first five minutes or so of the film are brilliant but it soon loses momentum and I found myself becoming bored. Whilst I often say that developing characters is important, it shouldn’t the only thing that the story tellers are focusing on for a LONG time without anything happening at all. I know that a lot of people will look at that and thinking that there wasn’t a big gap, but the problem is that there is a long spell where the only thing of note that happens other than character development is the death of the bar tender, who is such a minor character that the death barely even seemed worth mentioning….although the death itself was well done.

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I am all up for character development as long as it feels like the story is moving forward, such as the film that I will reveal as my favourite horror film on October 31st. Without revealing what the film is now, that film is all about character development for the first hour of the film and then onto the main core of the film, but even during the first hour things move forward at a reasonable rate, something that doesn’t happen in Bastard.

This isn’t helped by boring characters and especially Betty, who can’t have more than ten lines of dialogue throughout. She is just devoid of any type of personality and it’s like a fun-vacuum that takes any sense of enjoyment out of any scene that she is in. I can’t criticise the acting of Rebekah Kennedy at all, but then again it would be excellent difficult to criticise the acting of anyone who is given such a poor role that it is exceptionally difficult to care about, and the fact that I found the revelation that her and Jake are actually brother and sister and that the baby she’s carrying is inbred to be completely flat.

I think one of the main problems of the film is the neither of the two couples would actually be anywhere near being together in real life. Hannah and West are not even vaguely similar, with the exception of wanting to kill people, and I refuse to believe in any shape or form that Jake and Betty would ever have gotten together.

However, for me the biggest crime that it commits is that the most interesting subplot is brought to such an unsatisfying conclusion. Please note this little bit contains a spoiler. Michael, played by Burt Culver (who gives a far better performance that when he was in Ghostline, a film I reviewed a few days ago), is a suicidal man who’s boyfriend breaks up with him until he figures things out. This section of the early part of the story is well done……but then when Michael becomes involved with the main characters there is very little indication of him being suicidal anymore and then he is just killed without much effort by the killer, who turns out to be Rachael.

It just felt like an unfinished subplot and this left me more disappointed that most other parts of the film, and the complete “out of the blue” nature of revealing Rachael as the killer and what she went through before the events of the film just left it a bit flat.

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Summary

Bastard starts off very well indeed and is as good as an opening to a film that I have seen in a while, but it soon falls flat after that and I was already bored after fifteen minutes

The film’s deaths are excellent and bone crunching (literally), but there is nothing else other than those and the opening worth writing home about. Other than the brief surge of interesting action every now and then, to have a total of maybe seven minutes of worthwhile moments during a near 90 minute run time just isn’t good enough.

Don’t let the IMDB score fool you, it is definitely far higher than it should be.

The Hallow

Posted: October 23, 2015 in horror
Tags: , , , , , ,

This isn’t London, things go bump in the night!

Year Released : 2015The-Hallow-poster
Director : Corin Hardy
Cast : Joseph Mawle and Bojana Novakovic

I figure whilst I have got limited time today I would review a film that I saw at a film festival earlier in 2015, saving on time that I don’t otherwise have.

I had heard a lot about the Hallow leading up to seeing and heard it was very similar to another recent horror film called The Babadook, which is arguably one of the best and most original horror films of recent years. If it had considerably less votes on IMDB then I would love to review that, but it doesn’t so I can’t.

My only trepidation going into The Hallow was that it looked very samey as a lot of other horror films, but I sincerely hopes that it wouldn’t be the case, and I hoped that I would have been proved wrong.

Please note that it has been a while since I watched the film and therefore my memory of it might be a bit wrong, so I apologise in advance if any information is incorrect.

Plot

Adam (Mawle), Claire (Novakovic) and their son move from London to a small community in Ireland for a more peaceful life, and an more secluded place for Adam to carry out his conversationalist experiments. They do have issues with Colm (Donnelly), one of the neighbours, and automatically blame him when someone breaks a window, although there is no evidence to suggest that it’s him. Whilst out taking pictures of the window evidence, Adam fails to notice a pair of eyes hiding in the woods.

Whilst Adam is in town collecting repair supplies before struggling to make it back safely, Colm visits Claire and hands her a book. Adam’s car finally breaks down and whilst he is checking out what the issue might be, he is forced into the car’s boot by an unseen force and he only just makes it out in time to save his son from being kidnapped, again by someone that can’t be seen. When he eventually makes it home, the pair find their electricity being cut off and they decide to run to their car and make an escape, but things are rarely that easy.

They barely escape in the car as they are stalked by animalistic beings and they have to eventually retreat to the house, although Adam is shot in the eye by something. As they think they have escaped the worst of it, Adam soon becomes consumed by paranoia and he is convinced that his soon is a changling, not helped by that he himself is changing into a demon.

How much longer can Claire keep him safe?

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So, is it like the Babadook?

It’s very hard to compare the films in all honesty so it is a bit odd that some people did. The reason for this is that they are very difficult types of film and have very different stories, however, there are definitely a lot of the same types of horror used that I appreciate, and the majority of it comes from that they don’t seem to rely on the most common types of horror cliches.

I’ve mentioned a few times that horror films these days rely too much on jump scares and accompany it with a sharp noise, and it’s more of the noise rather than what’s on screen that gets you. However, neither Babadook or The Hallow did that. They rely on building tension in a natural way rather than trying to force it on you, and most importantly it tries to build the characters correctly and methodically.

The horror elements to the film are simple and well presented, such as when Adam and Claire are in a car that they can’t start, they look behind them and that is suddenly a group of the demons slowly making their way towards them. It’s so simple and yet so effective. It’s a similar scene to one of my favourite scenes in my the recently reviewed Hidden.

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More importantly it gets the pacing right. The characters are allowed to develop, then a lot of stuff happens for ten minutes, you get a rest where the characters can change based on what they now know, and then more stuff. This allows you to also take this in as an audience member and you get to appreciate the story a lot more as the paranoia of the two characters with regards to the safety of their son gets bought into question, especially when Adam is adamant that he is actually a changling.

I must admit that I was a bit bored after the first few minutes but it soon gets going , and although there are a few bits that drag throughout the film, in the majority it is very well executed, exciting and nerve wracking, especially as Adam starts to get taken over by the demons.

Overall I can’t think of any of anything majorly negative to say about the film and that’s why this review is ultimately shorter than usual.

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Summary

Whilst a bit slow in parts, I have no real complaints about The Hallow and that is something that I can rarely say on here.approved

It certainly isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but for me it worked on many levels and I get the feeling that if you liked The Babadook then you will like The Hallow. It is similar in it’s approach to horror and it feels like it’s progressing nicely, giving you a chance to breath and think about what has happened before the next level of action comes around.

The Hallow is a decent horror film that doesn’t feel like it’s trying too hard.

 

Year Released : 2015unnatural-1
Director : Hank Braxtan
Cast : James Remar, Ron Carlson, Q’orinaka Kilcher, Stephanie Hodes, Allegra Carpenter and Sherilyn Fenn

The end is finally coming into the horizon as my month of reviewing horror films leading up to Halloween enters it’s 22nd day. There’s only 8 more reviews after this one to go and then I’ve achieved my personal goal of writing a 31 reviews for the 31 days in October and then we’re done….and then I’m taking a well earned week off.

However, it is just a distant blur and for now I am moving onto monster movie “Unnatural”, a story about the dangers of genetic modification. I’m not going to lie, nothing about this film looks original but it’s at least something to watch and review, but to say that I am not optimistic would be being generous.

The one hope that I see that might save the film from being awful is James Remar, an actor who I’ve long been impressed with and was easily the best part of All Superheroes Must Die.

Plot

Following on from climate change a science corporation in Alaska decides to save the species that are suffering because of humanities selfish ways, and it turns out that the best way to do that is to mix the DNA of several species together, and one such experiment combines a polar bear with a wolf, creating a more vicious hunter. One day their experimental bear escapes and kills all but one of the scientists, Dr. Hannah Lindval (Fenn).

Meanwhile, several miles away Brooking (Carlson) has set up a photography shoot with Ella (Korab), Quincy (Carpenter) and DeLana (Hodes). He stays in the cabin of Martin (Remar), an experienced hunter that hires the local Inuits as staff. The shoot is going well until a hole suddenly appears in the middle of a frozen lake and a mysterious creature drags Ella into the ice cold depths, soon followed by Nate (Cruz), one of Martin’s assistants.

Everyone returns to the cabin. Brooking is distraught at the loss of his girlfriend and threatens to sue. Martin goes out to hunt what killed the pair but comes across Dr. Lindval, and soon enough the reality of what he’s facing becames all the more frightening.

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Did Remar save it from being poor?

For lack of better words, no, not at all. Now I will caveat by saying that Remar is absolutely fine in the film, I have no objections to his acting whatsoever and he can’t be blamed for the way the character is written to be so inconsistent. At first the character is an obvious pervert, or at least someone who has no idea what subtle and/or suitable customer service is, but pretty soon he’s portrayed as someone who is the ultimate arse-kicker (as are most main protagonists in movies it seems).

Remar is certainly the stand out performer in a film full of otherwise lackluster characters. When the characters aren’t being painfully bland and one dimensional, it’s obvious that the actors and actresses haven’t thought about things, nor has the director….or seemingly anyone else for that matter. For example, there is a scene where the two models are complaining it’s freezing whilst being fully clothes, and yet when they’re stood out in the open in just a bikini and a hat they aren’t complaining about the cold, nor shaking, nor even have goosebumps.

I’m not going to claim to have been to Alaska, infact, being English the closest I have ever been to Alaska was when I spent an evening in Plymouth, a distance of roughly 4,000-4,500 miles away from Alaska….depending on whereabouts you are in Alaska obviously, but if -16 (which Remar’s character quotes) is anything like it is in England, I refuse to believe in sense or for any matter of time that models that are only in beach clothes wouldn’t at least be slightly shivering or goosebumpy. Nope, they just get on with the rest of their day as if they’re in the middle of a studio and not in the middle of one of the coldest countries on Earth. It’s that lack of attention to detail that lost me quite early on in the film.

That being said, location wise the film is excellent. If this was filmed in a studio rather than on location then they have done a fantastic job, but if it was filmed on location then they have chosen a beautiful and memorable place for filming, although that again would make the not shivering a bit strange. The scenary is stunning and the scenes during the sunset, such as the below, are very well presented indeed. The cinematographer has done a very good job and if I were wearing a hat, I would doth it to them. It certainly looks the part.

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The main problem for me though isn’t that the poor acting of the majority of the cast or the lack of attention to detail, it’s that Unnatural is just dull. The problem with a lot of other horror movies of the same ilk is that they are remarkably similar to each other in nature and Unnatural offers precisely nothing new or insightful to a sub-genre of horror that is already over-populated as it is.

I could predict which characters were going to get killed and got it 100% correct, they might as well have been wearing a t-shirt that said “I get killed in this film” and the reason I was able to tell was how the characters were presented. Each was a stereotype of some variety, infact, here a list of the stereotypes that you can expect if you watch Unnatural;

  • Racist, hipster, prima-donna photographer
  • Model who only cares herself
  • Main character who is the person you’d want to have in the situation you find yourself in
  • A scientist with an ulterior motive
  • The main character’s assistant who is attracted to him

I could go on but I don’t think I really need to.

And finally, as a horror movie this fails miserably because it just isn’t that scary. Every single moment where it is trying to enduce a sense of fear is unsuccessful because it’s the same cliched nonsense that you get in other films and relies purely on trying to jump scare you rather than actually scaring you.

Summary

I really wanted to like Unnatural, I really did, but I just couldn’t because it’s just bland and is full of one-dimensional, stereotypical characters.

Unfortunately Unnatural just isn’t scary in any sense of the word and it offers very little, if anything, of what you haven’t seen before. It relies too much on jump scares and ultimately, because the characters are so one dimensional you don’t really care who lives and who dies.

Don’t waste your time.