Category Archives: Thriller

Burning Shadow (2018)

Director: Alexandre Nahon.
Starring. Matthew Dennis Lewis, Russell Dennis Lewis, Roxanne Mesquida, Roger Guenveur Smith, Richard Edson, Julie Delpy, Sal Landi. USA/France. 1h 28m.

This is one of those films you stumble on and while you might not be able to really appreciate it in its entirety you can’t fault it’s delivery. Often the film is described in such a way that sells it so short, but without any facilities it is indeed about a man who is down on his luck and obsessed with a stripper, by chance, he meets a homeless man who’s his double who he invites him into this life. Don’t let this fool you there’s so much more bubbling away under the surface of this dreamlike fantasy film with a huge sinister overtone that plays on perception of reality.

Charlie (Lewis), is in a dead end job, flipping tables at a diner owned by a totally incomprehensible Julie Deply, often he has to skip out of his hotel window to avoid the landlady asking for overdue rents, the only reason he has no money, is that he spends every penny to see his favourite European stipper at the local club. And each day he marvels at the local kingpin, Mr Jones (Guenveur Smith) a cool latino who uses the relaxed diner as a halfway office, sat at his favourite booth with his mostly silent Frenchmen henchmen (Edson)who clearly is a character you don’t want to fuck with but they have an understanding and respect between all three of them, mostly based on fear more than admiration. Continue reading Burning Shadow (2018)

Crawl (2019)

Director: Alexandre Aja .
Starring. Kaya Scodelario, Barry Pepper, a few CGI Gators. USA. 1h 27m.

I ain’t gonna lie, Crocs and Gators have always frightened the crap out of me, Sharks are pretty scary and if I were lost at sea then they would be my biggest priority but Gators have the added bonus of being shark like and able to cover some distance on land, which means it’s harder to run from one.. long story short, all those fears eventually came flooding back in this strangely heartwarming and slightly predictable creature feature.

Alexandre Aja really astounded his audience with such classics as the blood lusty hellride Haute Tension (2003) which became a cult classic new wave of Extreme French Cinema which you can find a list of here, and in my opinion a very good remake of The Hills Have Eyes (), but something must have really affected him during Piranha 3D (2010) because he eventually came back swinging with Crawl, a water soaked adventure with a lot of predictability but some cracking scares and a super sentimental bonding story between a father and daughter which set this aside from the stereotypical creature feature where lots of mindless young people are systematically picked off by predators. Continue reading Crawl (2019)

Castle Freak (1995)

Director: Stuart Gordon.
Starring. Jeffrey Combs, Barbara Crampton, Jessica Dollarhide, Jonathan Fuller. USA. 1h 35m.
Based on The Outsider by H. P. Lovecraft.

The mashed up face on the movie poster for this lose Lovecraftian movie was somewhat intriguing to me as a youngster but I imagined the film was nothing more than a Quasimodo horror, later on I discovered the DVD in CEX I actually read the back and found that Jeffrey Combs was involved therefore this must be an HP Lovecraft story and I gave it a shot. Continue reading Castle Freak (1995)

Hoax (2019)

Director: Matt Allen
Starring: Brian Thompson, Ben Browder, Shoshana Bush, Cheryl Texiera, Adrienna Barbeau. USA. 1h 32m

Matt Allen follows up his Aces and Eights short movie with a debut feature HOAX! which turns out to be a quirky faux mockumentary thriller about an investigation into the existence of Bigfoot, after a spate of teen disappearances in the Colorado mountains.

It’s easy to call it just another Bigfoot movie: but there has been a recent run of lowish-budget features that have broadened the creature featutes horizons by taking things to a new place, especially the fan favourite Bigfoot: The Lost Coast Tapes (2012). Somehow, without many clues or prompts or evidence, it does keep the question open in order to keep the viewers guessing until the very end, but does bigfoot exist or is there an alternative reason why teens are being slaughtered in the hills? And either way why would you want to go out with limited resources to find out? Continue reading Hoax (2019)

Spalovac Mrtvol / Cremator (1969)

Director: Juraj Herz
Starring: Rudolf Hrusinsky, Vlasta Chramostova, Jane Stehnova. Czechoslovakia. 1h 47m
Based on : The Cremator by Ladislav Fuks

A darkly comedic gothic misadventure into the psyche of a brilliant deranged lunatic. After being lost for several years, Cremator has been resurrected by the Brothers Quay, who painstakingly sourced the film and worked on its resurrection, this extraordinary intense meditation of the political horrors of 1930’s Europe are fantastically chilling in this early Czech New Wave film. Continue reading Spalovac Mrtvol / Cremator (1969)

Ghostland (2018)

Director: Pascal Laugier.
Starring: Taylor Hickson, Anastasia Philips, Kevin Power, Rob Archer, Mylene Farmer, Crystal Reed, Emilia Jones, USA. 1h 31m.

Pascals past record, in my opinion is chequered, in his early career he assisted on one of the most perfect films ever made, Le Pacte Des Loups (2001) he broke the mold and may stomachs with the New French Extreme visceral classic, Martyrs (2008) then let me down with the confusing and long winding, No Slender Man tale of the Tall Man (2012), but he’s come back swinging with a perfect blend of all the best psychological and physical horror from his past, with a sublime film that gives the creeps and will rattle a few cages along the way. His approach to this twisting tale is unique in that it plays on a strange story this is presented from different perspectives each slipping in and out of each other seamlessly but the dynamics are hauntingly beautiful and yet covered in as much nostalgic creepiness as the house it’s set in.

The two young sisters at the centre of this film, couldn’t be more different, Beth (Reed/Jones) is a sensitive horror writer, always lost in her thoughts about Lovecraft inspired texts but faints at the sight of blood, her ballsy sister is pretty awesome, hot tempered and ready for a fight but they are sisters, just so different the fiery Vera (Philips/Hickson) is a delight. Continue reading Ghostland (2018)

The Lucifer Complex (1978)

AKA Hitler’s Wild Women
Director
: Kenneth Hartford and David L Hewitt.
Starring. Robert Vaughn, Merrie Lynn Ross, Keenan Wynn, Aldo Ray. USA. 1h 31m.

After a sizable layoff, B movie genius David L Hewitt returns with this dreary espionage flick with tantalizing potential but an obscure approach. For some reason someone made a terribly poor Man from UNCLE movie with Vaughn himself but for unknown reasons the film wasn’t released, be it too short or just incomplete, but with Hewitt/Hartford to the rescue, the fearless duo added a strange futuristic wrap around a man in our distant future, seemingly a lone survivor who attends to “his garden” but in between working he stops in to consult a super computer which reveals the footage of the exploits of mankind including this twisted spy tale.

Rescue movies rarely make much sense, but they can work, take the two Cloverfield spin offs that were two separate projects entirely, but working with such a strange story and adding in something totally left field didn’t help in anyway but for all its faults this is totally unique! Continue reading The Lucifer Complex (1978)

The Freaks (1932)

Director: Tod Browning.
Starring. Wallace Ford, Harry Earles, Olga Baclanova, Leila Hyams, Roscoe Ates, USA. 1h 04m.

This has long been one of my favourite movies since I was a young child, I think my parents realised that I was going to be watching what I liked but my mother was always a spokeswoman for learning history and basics, so I read and watched the classics, which included The Freaks! I had a hand me down horror book which I still hold dear to my heart, I obsessed over the grainy black and white photos and was really drawn to the sideshow misfits of Tod Browning’s The Freaks which I still have to admit are a huge thing for me, not just the movie but the history and scientific research and study, encouraging me to travel the world visiting museums like Mutter and seeking out Cabinet of Curiosities worldwide.

Being one of the first and (possibly) only movie with a predominant cast of genuine “circus freaks” this tale is quite European in it’s make up, with a range of fair maidens, lost love and bitter revenge it’s something quite magical, but don’t get lulled into a false sense of security this fairy tale is grotesque and dark as fuck. Continue reading The Freaks (1932)

Deadfall (2012)

Director: Stefan Ruzowitzky.
Starring. Eric Bana, Olivia Wilde, Charlie Hunnam, Kate Mara, Treat Williams, Kris Kristofferson, Sissy Spacek. USA/Canada. 1h 35m.

Children change everything, but asshole parents and terrible family relations are the driving force of this strange thriller. Everything about the opening suggests that this is going to be a cold heartless chase to the death, that can only get grittier and more dangerous but each step of the way but each step towards this badass edge is followed by some daddy issue drama until family relations eventually kills the fun completely.

Eric Bana plays Addison a wild eye psychopath on a mission to get across the border to Canada, his beloved sister is making a similar route but the choice to split up is a necessity and for her protection. Despite his quick trigger finger Addison does have a strange moral compass which does sometimes sway in favour of protecting women but this soft approach doesn’t reduce his kill count by much. Continue reading Deadfall (2012)

Ouija (2014)

Director: Stiles White
Starring: Olivia Cooke, Daren Kagasoff, Douglas Smith, Bianca Santos. USA. 1h 29m

This film is just constantly bad. I want to end the review there but I owe a full explanation, and here it is…

Ouija has become the in thing among teens and adults, that little edgy thing that divides groups of believers and non believers, those who see them as a parlour game and others who see them as elements of evil, every few years the mysticism about this “game” raises its head and creates more urban myths, believers and skeptical non believers. Along with this rise in fame comics, books, tattoos, movies and music are all heavily influenced by the spirit board and it’s planchette accessory. Continue reading Ouija (2014)