Category Archives: Drama

Hereditary (2018)

Director: Ari Aster
Starring: Toni Collette, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro, Gabriel Byrne. USA. 2h 7m

Boldly highlighted as the most frightening film of all time, Hereditary certainly does have its moments and a dark twisted ending but is it really all that horrific? It’s undeniably creepy and boils into a crescendo of violence and psychological demise, but what it doesn’t offer are hoards of false jump scares, buckets of blood or unbelievable torture porn.

It’s hard to detail the movie as it’s subtle approach and devilish details makes it something that once explained will ruin many surprises. The movie does manage to support a constant feeling of dread for the first 90 minutes it’s hard to really see which direction the film is taking, hard to know what’s real and what might be a dream and ultimately it lines up a powerful ending that won’t be predicted by the more discerning horror fan. Continue reading Hereditary (2018)

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Howls (2011)

Director: Jamie Tracey.
Starring. J.J Gallo, Nick Smyth, Jamie  Traey. Canada. 1h 15m.

A muted drama with a dark undercurrent.  A group of guys are spending time together chilling in a cabin located in the Canadian wilderness, when the dog gets lose, all three guys head out to track her down but while the roam around the the forest they soon realise that they are being stalked.

For the most part of the film Paul (Gallo) and George (Smyth) search for the dog, there is a third friend who’s with them for a short while but he returns to the cabin early on and from what I understand this character is the Director Jamie Tracey?  The two guys have many a heart to heart while getting lost in the woods. With their friendship in question they pull apart and soon club together for safety, finally realising how much they mean to each other, but this bromance is in question when they notice something is tracking them, a dark figure looming vaguely in the background, “was that a bear?”. With limited ammunition and only the one rifle between them they do their best to make it back to the cabin alive. Continue reading Howls (2011)

Ankoku Shinwa / Dark Myth (1990)

Director : Takashi Anno, Tomomi Mochizuki
Writer: Daijiro Morohoshi
Starring : Nozomu Sasaki, Alan Marriott, Mizuho Suzuki. Japan. 1h 40m

When I first started getting in Anime Akira (1988) probably kicked things off for me, and I dug deep in powerful fast pace cyber and horror films. But one film really stood out on a few trailers. Its pale colours, still images and traditional soundtrack make it stand apart from the rest of the 90’s Manga collection.

Having a deep love of folklore and being totally mystified by the demonic creatures in the advert I was sure to get a copy ASAP and i fell in love with animated films all over again, but for very different reasons than before. Continue reading Ankoku Shinwa / Dark Myth (1990)

Unsane (2018)

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Starring. Claire Foy, Joshua Leonard, Jay Pharoah, Juno Temple. USA. 1h 38m

Everything about the opening of this movie is just dull and unassuming, which is a risky and dangerous move from director Steven Soderbergh, luckily it doesn’t last too long. While introducing the lead, Sawyer (Foy), we learn just how mundane her life is, the faceless office worker, who suffers all the nagging and office politics as the rest of us, she eats lunch while skyping her disapproving mother and later hooks up with a (not tinder) date, but after taking him back to her place with no strings attached sex, she freaks out thinking that he’s her stalker and the film re opens with her talking to a therapist.

We start to learn that Sawyer has been running away from an unknown stalker, hiring professionals (Matt Damon) to secure her routes to work, protect her personal details etc., but simultaneously we are also privy to the idea that she might be suffering from delusions and that the stalker is a fabrication of her overactive and vivid imagination, Unfortunately at this point in the movie she accidently signs herself into a psychiatric ward for observations, and for the rest of the film we, alongside her have to try and piece together just how sane or unsane she really is. Continue reading Unsane (2018)

Mandy (2018)

Director: Panos Cosmatos
Starring: Nicholas Cage, Andrea Riseborough, Linus Roache, Ned Dennehy Olwen Fouere, Richard Brake, Bill Duke. USA. 2h 1m

Cosmastos seems obsessed with 1983, where his previous movie was also set, is there a parallel here? Same year with possible answers to Professor Arboria’s mystic drug… but nothing is laid out in a straightforward way, he keeps the viewer guessing about what is real and what might just be fantasy, eventually your not sure what you believe in anymore, questions are raised especially about the drugs involved and at times this film really pushes the envelope. Continue reading Mandy (2018)

Fat City (1972)

Director: John Huston . Based on Fat City by Leonard Gardner
Starring. Stacey Keach, Jeff Bridges, Susan Tyrell, USA. 1h 36m.

There’s something magical about John Huston’s Fat City. I’m not sure if it’s the relatable characters, which are more realistic than cinema usually allows, or the detailed social dissection  by the masterful Huston himself. For years I had overlooked this believing it just is another poor relation to Rocky, but in fact it’s the opposite way around. I have always adored the Rocky story that eventually turned into an epic Saga which is still going 40 years later, a man with true grit and determination, rising up to great heights to live the American Dream and fighting with a true heart… Continue reading Fat City (1972)

Alps (2012)

Director: Giorgos Lanthimos.

Starring.  Aggeliki Papoulia, Aris Servetalis, Johnny Verkis, Ariane Labed, Maria Kirozi. Greece. 1h 33m.

After the amazing Dogtooth (2009) project, Lanthimos was a closely watched director, but his next project seemed like an amazing idea on paper but even with his surreal approach to film, personally I felt as if he missed his own target by being too realistic and not fantastical enough, or maybe the hype train mutated my anticipations to a level that not even a great director could reach.

ALPS is part is about a group of therapists who set up a business to allow families to get through the grieving process by supplying them with “trained” actors to play the roles of their loved ones, so they can have those precious last moments with them, say goodbye or to just have the feeling that they are still around for a few days. The drawbacks are that the actors don’t look like the people they are impersonating and they have to improvise on details the families give to them, hand written scripts and a few left over clothes but they make do, as method actors are especially adapted to do. Continue reading Alps (2012)

El castillo de la pureza / Castle of Purity (1972)

Director: Arturo Ripstein.
Starring: Claudio Brook, Rita Macedo, Diana Bracho, Arturo Beristáin, Gladys Bermejo, David Silva, María Rojo. Mexico. 1h 41m

After seeing the epic Dogtooth (2009) by the cult director Lanthimos, I was mystified by the circumstances, the basis of the story is a man raising his family in such isolation,  their offbeat lifestyle seems so extraordinary to the eye of any outsider, the whys were never really answered the film just happens. But after a little digging i discovered that the film isn’t a remake but has a similar storyline to El castillo de la pureza, an excellent Mexican drama where a man isolates his family to protect them from “the evils of human beings”. While I thoroughly enjoy Dogtooth everytime I see it, there’s something deeper in this retro classic as it digs under the skin of the abnormal situation.

Gabriel Lima (Brook) and his gorgeous wife Beatriz (Macedo) have invented a brilliant homemade rat poison, their children all have roles in helping them manufacture this brilliant powder. Each day they get up and get to work, always in silence when working, then their father gets dressed in formal clothes and goes out to sell the rat poison to local shops and businesses, meanwhile the children have to exercise, learn and for a while they play.
Things start to breakdown, slowly at first, but as the movie builds pace it becomes a waves of crushing emotions for the disciplined and sexually driven father and more jail time for the children. Leaving their poor mother looking on at the madness. Continue reading El castillo de la pureza / Castle of Purity (1972)

Joel (2018)

Director: John R. Hand
Starring: Arnold Odo, Fernando Cano, Bri Bynon. . USA . 1h 25m

A majority of serial killer movies are based on a few well known names, which can get repetitive as directors try their socks off to make an impressive, accurate and daring movie. Sadly most of them are total rubbish, missing the point,going off key missing out important details and even fabricating events.

But in all honesty films about serial killers will never really be what the die hard enthusiasts are looking for because those insensitive details are not cinema friendly. Most of the time the killers have been executed and promoting their ideals and theologies just don’t make the cut, but in the case of Joel Rifkin (Odo), the New York Ripper, there’s so much more opportunity to make a really in depth study about the incarcerated killer and it was totally missed here. Joel is still with us and has executed some really detailed and personal interviews where he expresses more about himself and the murders he committed than his movie does. Continue reading Joel (2018)

The House on Mansfield Street (2018)

Director: Richard Mansfield
Starring: Matthew Hunt, Daniel Mansfield, Kathryn Redwood, . UK . 1h 14m

 

I’m a proud defender of found footage and was eager to see this new british indie horror, it follows Nick Greene (Hunt) who’s an amature film maker, recording his own film of his move from London to Nottingham. The Movie starts strong and has many merits but .. It’s a PG 13 and doesn’t really give the chills that I was expecting,

As he settles into his quaint miniature historic cottage, he has two weeks before he starts work, after a brief encounter with his lovely neighbour Emma (Redwood) he’s back to filming his adventures in his new hometown. Visiting some of the local attractions he’s more mystified by what’s going on back at home. Emma gifts him a small craft pouch, something that her sister makes for good luck, he’s been instructed to hang it in his home to ward of evil spirits, after hearing some scratching in the walls and ceiling, he finds a similar more pungent pouch in the loft but the noises stop… but this is only the beginning. Continue reading The House on Mansfield Street (2018)