Category Archives: Fantasy

The House on Pine Street (2015)

Director: Aaron KeelingAustin Keeling Starring: Cathy Barnett, Emily Goss, Taylor Bottles, Jim Korinke. USA. 1h 51m

There’s something provocative about a haunted house tale, many directors have used this eternal additional character to emphasise the dark natures within its occupants or at times it’s a portal into a darkness that we neer want to look into. And while there’s some admiration in what Aaron KeelingAustin Keeling as directors have achieved in the bitter ending, there’s a boring tropey slog to get to the good bits.

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Undergods (2020)

Director: Chino Moya
Starring: Johann Myers, Ned Dennehy, Burn Gorman, Kate Dickie, Tim Plester .UK/Estonia. 1h m

After watching a deeply profound movie Undergods from Chino Moya, I still have questions, but I don’t really want to utter them too loudly in fear that the Corpse Collectors might come.. Very much in the vein of Domink Moll, Peter Strickland, and Ben Wheatley, this trippy blend of strange comedy and the darker elements of human nature, really creeps under the skin and while the film trips over its own message from time to time there’s mountains on mythology and messages worth contemplating. There’s a familiarity in both worlds depicted here, worlds in which we can all recognise but just uncanny valley enough for us not to properly understand.. or maybe we don’t want to admit to it.

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Green Knight (2021)

Director: David Lowery
Starring:Dev Patel, Alicia Vikander, Barry Keoghan, Sean Harris, Joel Edgerton, Ralph Ineson, Sarita Choudhury, Kate Dickie .USA/Canada. 2h 5m

With everyone and the dog wanting to reboot classical literature and and give it some kind of modern twist, we can be thankful that David Lowery didn’t take easy route of , yet another, King Arthur retelling, as I find it hard to find anything that comes close to John Boorman‘s glittery Excalibur (1981) Instead Lowery casts his poetic eye over an equally aged text that, for some reason, is more enchanting but remains lesser known. The adaptation of the 14th century chivalric romance Sir Gawain and the Green Knight into film has masterfully crafted into one of the more memorable films of the year.

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Mortal Kombat (2021)

Director: Simon McQuoid
Starring: Tadanobu Asano, Hiroyuki Sanad, Chin Han, Nathan Jones, Lewis Tan, Jessica McNamara, Josh Lawson, Joe Taslim, Mechad Brooks, .USA. 1h 50m

Despite the long running time, just shy of 2 hours, McQuoid and his team didn’t managed to fill in enough story to fully rewrite the Mortal Kombat universe, however they did manage to cobble together a film just entertaining and intriguing enough to keep a viewer or two entertained for the duration.

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The Raven (2012)

Director: James McTeigue
Starring: John Cusack, Alice Eve, Luke Evans, Brendan Gleeson,Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Sam Hazeldine, Dave Legeno. USA. 1h 51m

Journalism and celebrity are the subjects of this Victorian clad detective story. Fictionalising the final days of Edgar Allen Poe, giving him some majesty while being down and out in Baltimore 1849. No one wants to publish his iconic flavour of the macabre anymore and his life is in tatters.

The only one who can stop a serial killer is the man who inspired him

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Antrum – The Deadliest Movie Ever Made (2018)

Director: David Amito, Michael Laicini
Starring: Nicole Tompkins, Rowan Smyth. Canada. 1h 35m

I have to admit that before seeing Antrim I had no idea what the word actually meant so I did have to Google it. Turns out that it means, “A nearly closed cavity or chamber…” Well ok, How does one make a movie about a nearly closed cavity? Somehow directors, David Amito and Michael Laicini managed to turn this notion into a retro cursed movie project and argue that the film is (loosely) based on a movie by David B. Earle titled Dining Room or There is Nothing. Believe it or not if you have ever seen any of the creepy movie compilations on YouTube then you probably have seen this short but were unaware of its title, and here is the movie in all of its esoteric glory.

And here is some info from the directors website about the project http://davidbearle.com/nothing.html

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Curse II -The Bite (1989)

Director: Frederico Prosperi (as Fred Goodwin)
Starring: J. Eddie Peck, Jill Schoelen, Jamie Farr, Bo Svenson .Italy/USA. 1h 37m

After the success of The Curse (1987), an indie effort to breathe cinematic life into the classic HP Lovecraft story The Color Out of Space. An Italian/American sequel, in name only manages to cobble together a strange blend of body horror and romance and in some respects it stands strong as a very strange orphan.

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Dark Encounter (2019)

Director: Carl Strathie
Starring: Laura Fraser, Mel Raido, Sid Phoenix, Grant Masters, Spike White, Nicholas Pinnock, Alice Lowe, USA/UK. 1h 37m

Dark Encounter is another film in a long line up, of Intricately detailed thought provoking sci-fi, drawing more towards the side of hard sci-fi and yet remaining dreamily artistic, this bold attempt to to blend a missing person case in and around the most profound alien contact, proved to be very thought-provoking, and somewhat beautifully bittersweet.

With other epic sci-fi titles out there such as Interstellar and Arrival, Dark Encounter can proudy sit among them as a strong contender. Even without going full Christopher Nolanesque and devising a complex world that falls in and on itself, with surreal curveballs and slips within time and space, there is a palatable connection between our world and another. Were the reasoning why, being slightly baffling, it still proves to be an outstanding piece of work both visually and intellectually.

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Cure For Wellness (2016)

Director: Gore Verbinski
Starring: Dane DeHaan, Jason Isaacs, Ivo Nadi, Celia Imrie, Mia Goth. USA/Germany. 2h 26m.

Gore Verbinski’s hellish story of entrapment in a world filled with mysteries and a strange folklore is full of  disturbing quirks, but not enough to really step the film into the realms of greatness but instead it just comes off as  a bit weird.  The plot follows a young executive, Lockhart (DeHaan) who, after a misdemeanor at his firm, is sent to retrieve the company’s CEO, who is currently staying in a rehabilitation centre in the Swiss Alps. During this trip there’s hints of a sinister chapter from his childhood that still influences his life, but once he enters the secluded grounds of the wellness centre a dark fairytale atmosphere begins to take over.

Written by Ira Levin who gave us such classics like Rosemary’s Baby (1968), Stepford Wives (1975) and,  The Boys from Brazil (1978), but the biggest influence on the story is Thomas Mann’s 1924 novel, The Magic Mountain  (German: Der Zauberberg) . A book which does feature in the movie, those with a keen eye  may spot it, is already considered to be one of the most influential works of twentieth-century​ and centres on  a man unravelling a complex story from the backstories of key characters that he meets in a similar spar in the Alps. The war that’s faced in the novel is a World War, whereas Lockhart’s war is initially within him.

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Site 1 (2018)

Director: Matias Page
Starring: Matias Page. UK/USA. 1h 13m

How far can one man go into different realms before he literally finds himself? Site 1 unwraps with Matthews Phillips (Page), arriving at a secret location with a set of specific rules flashing up on the screen, his attempt to take part in a curious experiment. His personal intention is to discover the whereabouts of his brother who “went in before him”. While adhering to the rules Phillips ends up performing an elaborate ritual, but what is the aim and what is he letting himself into? After entering the home he finds a recorder, which alludes to more serious instructions which allude to a break in reality and the need to adhere to certain constraints in order not to slip through the crack himself.

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