Category Archives: Mystery

Gehenna: Where Death Lives (2016)

Director: Hiroshi Katagiri
Starring: Eva Swan, Sean Sprawling, Katherine Taylor, Simon Philips, Doug Jones, Lance Henriksen. USA/ Japan. 1h 45m

Katagiri’s feature length debut opens up with an embellished biblical quote from Matthew 18:9, but instead of casting your eye into hell fire, the word is changed for Gehenna, this cuts away for a group of natives performing a ritual involved cutting off a mans face and walling him up in a cave.
After the bloodshed, the film cuts to a pristine office, where Morgan (Henriksen) speaks with his daughter about checking out a new spot in Saipan, the family business is tied with tourism and they have acquired a new piece of land which Paulina (Swan) is determined to check out as she’s planning on taking over the family business soon, this is all you’ll see of Henriksen so don’t get your hopes up Henny fans.

Continue reading Gehenna: Where Death Lives (2016)

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La Piel Fria / Cold Skin (2017)

Director:Xavier Gens.
Starring. Aura Garrido, David Oakes, Ray Stevenson. Spain. 1h 48m.

The background of this mesmerising  thriller is reminiscent of stories straight from the imagination of HP Lovecraft, but the film is actually based on a story by Albert Sanchez Pinol with the same title. They both involve a lone man on the edge of his sanity who lives locked tight in a light house on a remote and uninhabited island, existing like a hobo and fighting off deadly sea creatures each night.

The film breaks open at sea, a fine-looking ship is being chased by dolphins as a young Irishman named Friend (Oakes) travels to this remote island in the South Atlantic to work as a meteorologist, the only inhabitant of the island is the caretaker of the lighthouse, a tough character called Gruner  (Stephenson). After a cold and abrupt introduction Gruner informs Friend that the previous meteorologist died from typhus. The crew depart leaving Friend to cosy in his new cabin he watches Gruner in his fortified lighthouse with intense curiosity, why would someone need to defend a lighthouse? Friend unpacks and finds a journal from the late meteorologist, detailing nightly attacks from strange creatures form the sea, assuming this was feverish dreams of a dying man he drifts off to sleep until a slimy webbed hand feels under the door and he finds himself under attack. He managed to fight off the intruders, the next day he tries to get Gruners attention but is ignored. He spends the day fortifying the cabin and finds a gun. Awaiting another attack but he’s overrun and in the fight ends up burning the cabin to the ground, hiding on the rocks of the beach with a blanket he spends the night hiding. Continue reading La Piel Fria / Cold Skin (2017)

Killing of the Sacred Deer (2017)

Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Starring: Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Barry Keoghan, Raffey Cassidy, Sunny Suljic. UK/Ireland/USA. 2h 1m

One main thing which I have admired about Yorgos Lanthimos is that since his debut in 2009 with Dogtooth, he’s got a persistent streak to deliver his brand of cinema no matter what, his idosynchetric practice is very distinctive and each film since has been highly meticulously created, giving something different each time but with a strong je ne sai quoi which is very Lanthimos-esque.

Obviously loving the experience from The Lobster (2015) Colin Farrell returns for another darkly bizarre story this time it’s not about falling in love it’s all about a cold dish of  revenge. The film opens with open heart surgery being performed by the skilled surgeon Steven Murphy (Farrell), afterwards he meets a young boy named Martin (Keoghan) the relationship between the isn’t explained and the curiosity continues as Steven returns home to his family, Anna (Kidman) and their two children, with their idyllic and somewhat stale life in the suburbs. Continue reading Killing of the Sacred Deer (2017)

Slash Dance (1989)

Director: James Shyman
Starring: Cindy Ferda, James Carroll Jordan, J. Buzz Von Ornsteiner. USA 1h 23m

This movie was brought to my attention from fellow Twitter reviewer, Christopher Zisi @cjzisi Who is the master of all B-Movies,  and in this case I just couldn’t resist and I had to give this one a go  as it really did seem too good to miss.

A super tough female police officer who believes that she could probably kick Cynthia Rothrock ass,  goes undercover As a dancer in a old theatre and order to uncover who has been killing young girls auditioning for particular role. Continue reading Slash Dance (1989)

The Discovery (2017)

Director: Charlie McDowell
Starring:Jason Segel, Rooney Mara, Robert Redford, Jesse Plemons. USA. 1h 41m

Boy meets girl on a ferry  months after a world shattering invention has been made. A reserved and often recluse scientist Thomas Harbor (Redford) calmly sits down to tell a interviewer about his new discovery; with it, he’s proven, without a doubt, there is life after death. Instantly one of the crew members shoots themselves. The world has a record number of suicides as people are desperately trying to pass on to the other side, there are public counters that are constantly ringing up the number of dead,  in the meantime, the boy and girl are journeying to meet, Harbor (Redford) the boys father and girl saviour? it’s supposed to be romantic but they animosity and angst coming from the girl makes the scene rather awkward. Continue reading The Discovery (2017)

La Casa Con La Scala Nel Buio / A Blade in the Dark (1983)

Director: Lamberto Bava
Starring. Michele Soavi, Andrew Occhipinti, Fabola Toledo, Anny Papa. Italy. 1h 50m.

The literal translation of the title is The House with the Dark Staircase which is a little bit more appropriate; at least for the opening scene. Initially cast as a mini-series the film was scraped by Italian TV moguls for being too violent, so re edited as a much shorter film.

Starting with a peculiar scene a groups of boys dare each other to go down some dark stairs (hence the name) eventually one of the boys is forced down into the darkness where he meets his grisly fate, from there Bava leisurely  sets the pace of a whodunit with some impressive jump scares. Continue reading La Casa Con La Scala Nel Buio / A Blade in the Dark (1983)

Ragazza Tutta Nuda Assassinata Nel Parco / A girl killed in the park (1972)

Director:  Alfonso Brescia.
Starring. Robert Hoffman, Irina Demick, Pilar Velazquez, Adolfo Celi. Italy. 1h 32m.

I’m not sure what the fascination is with the Giallo scene and parks, houses being on the edge, and girls getting killing in them.  But this was a bit of a jumbled mess for me, I got the story but some of the characters were a little too bat-shit-crazy to make the film all that plausible. Continue reading Ragazza Tutta Nuda Assassinata Nel Parco / A girl killed in the park (1972)

1922 (2017)

Director:Zak Hilditch .
Starring. Thomas Jane, Molly Parker, Neal McDonough. USA. 1h 48m.

This hot and melting messy murder film is quite an interesting brooding moralistic thriller. At first the rocky love affair between Wilfred Jane) and his feisty wife Arlette (Parker) is something on parallel to a Tennessee Williams play,  but it’s no secret that he’s planning to kill his wife for her land and cash, but it doesn’t seem plausible until he slowly bullies his son, Henry into helping him hold her down and slit her throat in a torrid gurgling bloody mess. He disposes of her corpse down the well soon after then the rats appear, crawling in and out of her corpse, the scene shocks him but he has some cleaning up to do and a lot of police dodging, until the Henry discovers that his teenage true love is pregnant and he has to escape the town and the two go on the run leaving Wilfred alone on the farm with the ever present rats for company.

Continue reading 1922 (2017)

Carnival of Souls (1962)

Day 8 – Carnival of Souls

Director: Herk Harvey.
Starring. Candace Hilligoss, Frances Feist, Sidney Berger, Art Ellison, USA. 1h 24m.

A cult classic that still influences a host of modern directors, this independent horror film manages to create a bizarre ghostly atmosphere that has been difficult to re-create since.

A few girls are out for a lark, when then encounter some greasers who challenge them to a drag race over a bridge, the girls car crashes in the river and they get pulled along by the rapids, the rescue mission fails to find anything but a shabby and bemused young blonde bombshell emerges from the water the only survivor from this tragic misadventure. Mary’s life is never quite the same after the accident. The church organist relocates to Utah, where she finds herself set apart from the locals and stalked by a strange pasty faced ghoulish man (Harvey) as she’s drawn towards a mysterious carnival on the outskirts of town near the river,  where she’s inclined to dance. Continue reading Carnival of Souls (1962)

The Void (2016)

Day 3 – The Void

Director: Steven Kostanski and Jeremy Gillespie  .
Starring. Aaron Poole, USA. 1h 30m.

It’s not often a film grips my attention quite like this one. The first trailer I chanced upon was quiet mysterious and the poster had tentacles, that’s pretty much me sold on any movie. So the Void didn’t promise much, it kept 90% of the fun a secret and that added to the fun and intensity of the gory film. Starting with a curious scene a man escapes from some crazy occultist and flees into the woods, bleeding and disorientated. A lone cop sees him the road and takes him to the nearest hospital to get him patched up. The hospital is in the process of being relocated, so there is minimal staff and they are caring for one pregnant girl and packing, quite reminiscent of Assault on Precinct 13 (1976) and before you know it, they are soon surrounded by shrouded occultist and have to barricade themselves but unlike the 70’s siege film they are fighting unknown metaphysical forces that are beyond comprehension, yet very familiar to those lured tales from HP Lovecraft. Continue reading The Void (2016)