Category Archives: Mystery

A Dark Place / Steel Country (2018)

Director: Simon Fellows Writer: Brendan Higgins
Starring.Andrew Scott, Bronagh Waugh, Denise Gough, J.D. Evermore. Canada. 1h 29m.

Irish stud, Andrew Scott stars in this muted drama that hinges on a community that is constantly turning a blind eye to some of the most horrific events that could happen behind closed doors.

When a young boy, Tyler Zeigler, goes missing in a sleepy fictional backwoods town of Harburgh, Pennsylvania, a former steel town that has seen brighter days. A local garbage truck driver and single father, Donny (Scott), plays detective, embarking on a precarious and obsessive investigation. Donald Devlin isn’t like all the other people in his town, and it’s kinda hard to pin point exactly what his ailment is, autism is top of my list but I’ve never quite seen a detective like him, Monk (2004-2009) had OCD along with a range of fears and phobias, Poirot was also OCD and it seems these afflictions help the perception of these amazing individuals, Donald is a special Samaritan, for the most part it’s easy to understand his concerns but every now and again he comes swinging from left field and does something really random as he attempts to grasp the world around him. Continue reading A Dark Place / Steel Country (2018)

In the Tall Grass (2019)

Director: Vincenzo Natali. Writer: Stephen King
Starring.Laysla De Oliveria, Avery Whitted, Patrick Wilson, Will Buie Jr. Harrison Gilbertson, Tiffany Helm, Rachael Wilson. Canada. 1h 41m.

The penny dropped after the first hour of watching vivid scenes of tall grass swaying and screaming at lost desperate people in this slightly weary thriller, my eureka moment came when I realised I had seen this set up before, in a well known and once brilliant sci fi movie, The Cube (1997) and fuck me sideways, it’s the same director!?! I might have finally learnt my lesson in doing the technical research before settling into a movie. In a nutshell, that’s it, a folk version of The Cube in a field, and despite it’s best efforts, it’s not much more. The film eludes to lots of probabilities to the origins of its mystery but fails to really give solid answers and ends up as a messy mix of dead ends. Continue reading In the Tall Grass (2019)

Dream Demon (1988)

Director: Harley Cokeliss .
Starring. Jemma Redgrave, Timothy Spall, Jimmy Nail, Katheleen Wilhoute, Mark Streenstreet, Susan Fleetwood, Nickolas Grace . UK. 1h 26m.

This timid British television production boasts some great names, but for some reason the most influential actors were cast as dodgy villains; two posing as slimey reporters another as a repressed memory bad daddy character it’s sad to see the smallest and nastiest roles in what turns out to be a pretty uneventful haunted house horror go to great names while it’s lead by two no brainer whimsical women. Let’s say Cokeliss lost a lot of the power and charm he exacerbated in Black Moon Rising by this time but the film isn’t a complete loss. Considering the very different surreal undertones it’s a different kettle of fish and thus treated in a very different manner. Continue reading Dream Demon (1988)

Missing 411 (2004)

Director: Michael DeGrazier, Benjamin Paulides
Starring. Jaryd Atadero, DeOrr Kunz Jr., Nate Eaton .USA. 1h m.

I was slightly on the wrong track with this movie, no pun intended.

After listening to the Mysterious Universe Podcast (since season 5 check out the awesome podcast here https://mysteriousuniverse.org ) I’ve heard/read a lot about Missing 411 persons, but obviously with the theme of the podcast these tales go into high strangeness often involving Bigfoot and UFOs etc etc. I was expecting to see some crazy trail camera footage and maybe some abandoned staircases in the woods, or even recounts of historical unsolved cases. In contrast this documentary movie is more about a handful of cases which represent the tip of the iceberg of Missing 411’s but with a slight connection, all cases involve young children often with hearing impairments. Continue reading Missing 411 (2004)

The Resurrected (1991)

AKA The Ancestor and Shatterbrain

Director: Dan O’Bannon.
Starring. John Terry, Jane Sibbett, Chris Sarandon, Robert Romanus. USA. 1h m.
Based on: The Case of Charles Dexter Ward : HP Lovecraft

I didn’t know this was based on Lovecraft’s writings before watching because I do very little research about movies as I know I’m going to watch them to find out if I like them anyway.. But it takes about 15 or so minutes before that heady sense of Lovecraftian crazy logic and dark magic seeps through this straight to video horror movie.

Starting like any modern detective story, the film opens with a rich and forgotten wife Clare Ward (Sibbett) pleading for help from a private detective John March (Terry) to investigate the worrying mysterious behaviour of her husband Charles Dexter Ward (Sarandon). Through a series of conversations the backstory is revealed, Charles has recently isolated himself in the families carriage house, after doing extensive family history research he discovers an ancestor, Joseph Curwen, to whom he bears an uncanny resemblance. Continue reading The Resurrected (1991)

5th Passenger (2018)

Director: Scotty Baker
Starring: Doug Jones, Marina Sirtis, Morgan Lariah, Mindy Robinson, Armin Shimerman, David Lim.USA .1h 29m.

In the opening scenes a woman’s body is retrieved from a space vessel, while recuperating, her memories of the events that led up to her rescue are watched by Marina Sirtis, who’s an agent trying to find out what happened to the crew, in order to report to a committee she is charged with viewing the memory “playback”.

In a turbulent maladjusted future there are two distinct classes, Citizens and Non-Citizens, the later class are considered bottom feeders who have very little rights and are generally only entrusted with meanal jobs, looking after livestock etc. But one woman stands out among them, Eve (Lariah) a technical officer despite her exclusion from the higher class. Continue reading 5th Passenger (2018)

Labyrinth (1986)

Director: Jim Henson.
Starring. David Bowie, Jennifer Connelly, Toby Froud, Brian Henson, Frank Oz, USA. 1h 47m.

It’s hard to write to about films that have been around so long, that are so wildly popular, but alas it’s a film that I’ve seen; many times and therefore it has a place on my illustrious blog, but don’t expect me to take this review all that serious, because that would be boring and this film like so many other Henson productions always suggest that you shouldn’t take life too serious.

The film is a meeting of three great talents and a lavish history of children’s fairy tales, arranged and directed by Jim Henson’s who made a range of amazing creatures in all sizes, all built around the twisted imagination of renowned Brian Froud, and with the presence of David Bowie the film already has enough credentials for perfection, and it literally all the ingredients you need for the faultless fantasy film. Continue reading Labyrinth (1986)

Gerald’s Game (2017)

Director: Mike Flanagan
Starring: Carla Gugino, Bruce Greenwood, Chiara Aurelia, Carel Struycken , Henry Thomas. USA. 1h 43m
Based on  Gerald’s Game by Stephen King

Sometimes I read the synopsis of a film and then check the time and can’t fathom how someone can drag out something so simple for so long, reading about Gerald’s Game, a woman trapped along chained to a bed, the mind doth boggle how i can last for nearly two hours, but this movie is amazing in the details and revelations that incur during Jessie’s surprise and accidental incarceration.

Jessie (Gugino) and her husband Gerald (Greenwood) travel to a remote beach house to rekindle their marriage, with a bit of kink, after running into a stray dog, Jessie puts some food out for the dog incase it’s still in the area and notices that a door has been left open. Focusing on the fun she slips into a something more comfortable and Gerald pops two viagra, handcuffs his wife to the bed and dies from a heart attack. Continue reading Gerald’s Game (2017)

Lake Mungo (2008)

Director: Joel Anderson
Starring: Rosie Traynor, David Pledger, Martin  Sharpe, Talia Zucker. Australia. 1h 27m

Lake Mungo takes a slightly different approach to the world of Mockumentaries/Found footage films, there’s a gentler hand involved in this deeply personal and sentimental story of a missing teen. Often the film shocks and attempts to scare it’s audience but these are often long drawn out tension filed scenarios more than faux jump scares which is a credit to some brilliant film making, although in the attempts to make everything so very real these scenes are often displayed as terrible quality home video recordings showing phenomena in a “bigfoot” blur and the scare is often lost in the quality.

Alice Palmer (Zucker) is just like any other team girl, but one fateful day on a trip to a local camping site at Lake Mungo she goes missing. Her distraught family and emergency services  go to the limit to find her, unfortunately all this is pulled form the lake is her body. Continue reading Lake Mungo (2008)

Naked Lunch (1991)

Director: David Cronenberg
Based on – Naked Lunch by William S Burroughs
Starring: Peter Welller, Judy Davis, Ian Holm, Julian Sands, Roy Scheider. Canada, Japan, UK. 1h 55m

This bold, Kafkaesque putrid remake of the legendary novel by William S Burroughs, is possibly as vivid and imaginative as the original book, but if you’ve read the book you’ll realise that no film could ever really be a true adaptation, so the screenplay is a metatextual adaption. Detailing characters and scenes from a complex novel and other works from Burroughs, both fictional and from his journal and the events which lead to the 1951 death of Joan Vollmer, Burroughs’s common law wife.  So while it’s not entirely Naked Lunch, it should at least FEEL like Naked lunch and at times it feels a lot like Burroughs but slightly more coherent.

As a surreal autobiographic piece the film follows the life of William Lee, who is basically Burroughs, a bug exterminator who discovers his wife is stealing his insecticide and using it to get high. Lee is arrested and starts hallucinating because of his exposure to the powder. Believing that he’s a secret agent  he beings a strange relationship with two handlers, one is a insect typewriter and an alien “Mugwump“. The typewriter assigns him a mission of killing Joan, she’s allegedly an agent of an organization called “Interzone”, Lee dismisses this notion but on returning home he finds Joan having sex with a friend and kills her, inadvertently carrying out the mission, he flees to interzone, a city in North Africa where he spends his time writing reports to his handlers, this slowly becomes the Naked Lunch book and after taking more mind altering drugs and getting a new typewriter, a Clark Nova, this insect  stresses that he needs to find Dr Benway by seducing Joan Frost who’s a doppelganger of his dead wife and then things get really weird, and with the addition of a drug that is made from a centipede. Continue reading Naked Lunch (1991)