Category Archives: Thriller

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)

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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)

Containment (2015)

Director:Neil Mcenery-West
Starring: Lee Ross, Sheila Reid, Louise Brealey, Pippa Nixon. UK. 1h 30m

This plucky little drama horror is set in an average London tower block with average London people forced to go through an extraordinary ordeal for reasons unknown.

The lead Mark (Ross) wakes up late for work, rushing to get ready, swallowing some coffee he attempts to call his estranged wife but soon discovers that his front door isn’t just locked but epoxied shut, thinking that someone is playing a trick on him, his attention is soon brought to a loudspeaker telling him and the other residents not to panic, emergency services and hazmat suited staff are setting up a base outside the apartment and a few faces can be seen in neighbouring apartments staring back in as much dismay as him. Continue reading Containment (2015)

The Employer (2013)

Director: Frank Merle.
Starring. Malcolm McDowell, Paige Howard, David Dastmalchian, Billy Zane, Katerina Mikailenko, USA. 1h 30m.

Malcolm McDowell somehow manages to steal the show while only playing a small but vital role in this dark twisted interview from hell as he looks away a handful of top contenders for a new role in his powerful company allowing them to eliminate each other for the perfect job.

I was really impressed to see this “sub-genre” of interview/exam thrillers cropping up within the Escape Room horror genre. It’s pretty scary enough to have a few strangers locked in a room desperate to escape but when greed or desperation for a new job is also thrown into the mix there seems to be a heighten level of underhandedness in an already cut throat world.

Each candidate is entered in the first of a series of jobs interviews with their fierce future boss, played by the seasoned McDowell whose presence rightfully dominates his screen time, his no nonsense approach gives a great indication of his ruthlessness in the boardroom, and his determination to find the right person. But waking up in a locked room with a few strangers, it’s James (Dastmalchian) who starts to steer the movie. I haven’t seen him in much since Prisoners where he plays that freaky psycho with the snakes but in a total reversal he’s quite a pleasant and capable lead but he’s only just stands out in this mix of mad characters. Continue reading The Employer (2013)

Come out and play (2012)

Director: Makinov
Starring: Vinessa Shaw, Ebon Moss-Bachrach .Mexico. 1h 40m
Based on: El juego de los niños by Juan José Plans

In a bold attempt to update and update the 1976 classic Who Can Kill a Child but Narciso Ibanes Serrador, Makinov has basically just remade it with little care to really expand the story and somehow it now seems slightly underpowered and drawl in all areas which could have been improved.

A young couple, Beth (Shaw) and Francis (Moss-Bachrach) are on holiday and travelling around remote islands before the birth of their child. On arriving at a new island they discover a lone boy fishing but make their way into town finding it pretty vacant. Settling down in an abandoned bar they make themselves drinks and food, assuming that everyone is sleeping off the after math of festival season. Continue reading Come out and play (2012)

Hyena (2014)

Director: Gerard Johnson
Starring: Peter Ferdinando, Stephen Graham, MyAnna Buring, Elisa Lasowski, Neil Maskell, Richard Dormer, Tony Pitts, Mehmet Ferda .UK. 1h 24m

This matter of fact police corruption movie turns out to be not only thrilling, but delicately devious which sees the argument of righter and wronger turns heels from the streets of London into a literal blood bath.

Johnson keeps the movie on it’s feet with fast camera action that in ways follows it’s heroes and foes like an episode of [insert your favourite cop drama here] the story slowly steps out from the clamamtiy from time to time through bloody revelations, and it all becomes too much for the hardened street cop who is the focus of the movie. There’s something raw about the filming approach, the locations aren’t luxurious especially in the daytime which are filmed on any street corner, something we can all relate to, but at night the film comes alive in darkness and neon, the characters aren’t built on in the conventional way, instead they are more like sweaty desperate chess pieces but still the camera moves around them with glee. Continue reading Hyena (2014)

American Psycho (2000)

Director: Mary Harron
Starring: Christian Bale, Willem Dafoe, Jared Leto, Josh Lucas, Samantha Mathis, Matt Ross, Bill Sage, Chloë Sevigny,Cara Seymour, Justin Theroux, Guinevere Turner, Reese Witherspoon .USA. 1h 41m

After the success of a brilliant deeply disturbing and somewhat witty and stylish novella of the same name by Bret Easton Ellis, Mary Harron transformed the saucy satirical bits into this cult movie starring the charismatic Chriistian Bale at the front of star studded cast. Bale was set to steal the show and this really boosted his career and ego to the outer limits, but I can’t argue that he gives a smart and sensuous performance.

I read the book and was happy to leave it as that, something the original author agrees with, but it became impossible to totally avoid the movie as it’s used to popular culture so much through doll’s phrases, and gifs it’s unavoidable. Continue reading American Psycho (2000)